They were sort of a thing. An us .
They worked together under Carolyn, investigating the why and the who and the what once the Ghost had been locked up. Other missions followed, other cases. They were forced to spend time together, then chose to.
Eve and Niko divorced. The changes started immediately.
Villanelle was hired by a different section of the government. No longer made to work in the same room helped them flourish, lunch meetings turned into lunch dates, evenings going through files turned into evenings talking about their different roles and workloads over wine. Enemies to coworkers to friends to us .
They never said they were together . They just were, sort of. Eve had trouble compartmentalising and Villanelle had trouble with communicating. They worked on it. They got better at it.
They dated. They kissed. They fucked. They talked.
They did whatever they wanted.
They called it casual.
They both knew it wasn’t.
Maybe Eve also struggled with communication.
Three and a half months.
That’s how long they haven’t spoken for.
A stupid, stupid argument, with words like ‘psychopath’ and ‘boring’ wielded like weapons, phrases like ‘we are not an us’ and ‘you were something to pass the time’ detonated like bombs.
They were both mortally wounded. They were both pulling the trigger. Neither is innocent and both suffered the fight.
Three and a half months.
And then Eve gets a call that she almost doesn’t answer.
It’s an unknown number. Her brain says wrong number, telemarketer, her mobile network trying to sell her something.
Her heart says- something different.
“Hello, Eve speaking?”
“Eve. It’s me.”
Oh. Her heart was right.
Silence. Soft breathing. Eve sits down and speaks again.
“Hi. Are you- what do you want?”
“You have some talking to do too.”
They talk for an hour. They talk and talk and talk.
“I miss you.” Villanelle says quietly.
“God,” Eve sighs, “I miss you too.”
“I like you.” Villanelle says, slightly louder.
“God,” Eve laughs, “I like you too.”
“I want to be with you again.”
Eve fiddles with the blanket in her lap.
“Were you with me before?”
“Always, Eve,” Villanelle tells her, “always.”
“Then come back. Please.”
Villanelle is quiet for a moment.
“I need to tell you something.”
“When we fought, I was very upset.”
“No,” Villanelle stresses, “I was very upset. You said that we weren’t an us , that we never were. So, I did what I used to do back when we were not an us .”
It makes Eve feel sick, even though she knows it has no right to.
“You… slept with someone else?”
“Mm,” Villanelle hums, “like I said, I was upset.”
“It’s… it’s fine.” Eve sighs. “I mean, I told you we weren’t a thing, and you did what people who aren’t in things do. It’s not like you cheated on me or anything. It’s fine. I’m not mad. I can’t be mad.”
“That is not the part I need to tell you about though.”
Eve’s brow furrows in confusion.
Villanelle doesn’t say anything, until she does.
And now it’s Eve’s turn to say nothing.
Villanelle arrives at close to midnight the following day and Eve’s eyes immediately drop to her stomach.
“There is not much to see yet.” are the first words Villanelle says to her in person after three and a half months.
Eve’s eyes snap back up.
“Sorry.” is the first word Eve says to her in person after three and a half months.
“Enough sorries,” Villanelle says simply, “let me in, I am pregnant and tired.”
“Shoot, of course,” Eve says hurriedly, backing down the hall so Villanelle can enter, “come in, I’ll make tea.”
Villanelle’s face scrunches up as she shuts the door behind her.
“Ugh, no tea please.”
“But you love tea.” Eve says.
“I love it.” Villanelle agrees. “The baby does not. I cannot drink it without getting sick.”
“Oh, god,” Eve says, “that’s rough.”
“Don’t even,” Villanelle sighs, walking through to the living room, “there is so much I cannot enjoy now.”
“Well,” Eve starts, heading into the kitchen area of the open plan room, “is there anything you do enjoy?”
“Cranberry juice.” Villanelle says desperately. “I crave it all of the time.”
“I actually have some-”
“Oh thank god.” Villanelle groans, and Eve laughs.
Villanelle smiles at her from the couch as Eve pours her a glass, and Eve thinks that maybe this is something they can do.
“Who’s the father?”
“Some guy,” she says, fingers drumming gently on her almost-bump, the stomach of someone who ate too much dinner and nothing more, “I don’t know his name.”
Eve can’t hold it in any longer.
“I can’t believe you slept with a man .”
Villanelle laughs through a moan, covering her face with her hands.
“I know,” she chuckles sadly, “like I said, I was upset. I did not want to be reminded of you. I needed hard edges and large hands. I needed the opposite.”
Eve bites her lips together.
“How was it?”
Villanelle pulls her hands away from her face and grimaces at Eve.
“Clumsy. Quick .”
Eve can’t contain her laughter, but the bark of it makes Villanelle grin and roll her eyes.
“Sorry, I’m sorry,” Eve breathes, “but… it is kinda funny. Like, none of this is funny, but it is a little funny.”
“Well, he was handsome, at least.” Villanelle says with a smile. “So the baby will be very good looking.”
“With your genes? Obviously.”
Villanelle blushes a little, which Eve spots immediately.
“Oh my god, look at your rosy little cheeks.” She teases.
“Hormones.” She grumbles.
Eve laughs again.
A week has passed. Eve is cuddled next to Villanelle on the sofa, the blonde curled into her with her head on Eve’s shoulder. Some movie is playing, chosen by Villanelle, but Eve can’t concentrate. She twirls silky blonde hair between her fingers.
“Mm.” Villanelle hums.
“How come you’re not getting rid of it?”
There are probably more tact ways of putting it, but Eve has never been known for having tact.
Villanelle peers up at her.
“Well… please don’t take this the wrong way, but… you’re you?” Eve shrugs, jostling Villanelle a little. “I’m sort of surprised you’ve not had an abortion.”
Villanelle looks away.
“Me too.” She says softly.
She goes quiet, and Eve thinks that’s the end of it.
“I went to do it, literally went to the place, and I couldn’t.” Villanelle says in the silence. “I just… couldn’t. I don’t know why.”
Eve pulls her closer and kisses the top of her head.
“That’s okay.” Eve mumbles. “Both options are okay.”
“I am not going to keep it.” Villanelle says. “Someone else can have it, someone that actually wants to raise a child in this world.”
“That’s brave,” she tells Villanelle, “and apparently super difficult. Do you think you could?”
“Pssh,” Villanelle scoffs, “I can do anything.”
Villanelle is four months pregnant.
“Apparently I am in my second trimester,” Villanelle says around a mouthful of crisps as she stares at her phone, “and the baby is as big as an avocado.”
“That’s so teeny.” Eve says from the kitchen, putting groceries away. “And also makes me kind of hungry.”
“I will make lunch.” Villanelle chirps, hopping up from the sofa.
“No, I can do it, you should relax.”
“But I have so much energy,” Villanelle pleads, “please let me make food, I am so bored. And so hungry. Do you have avocados?”
“Only you would want avocados after learning that’s how big your baby is.”
Villanelle grins and heads to the fridge, and Eve allows her gaze to drop.
Villanelle is showing now. The last two weeks seem to have given Villanelle’s stomach a growth spurt, because instead of gentle bloating it’s now sort of obvious that the slim blonde is pregnant.
Eve still can’t quite believe it.
They haven’t gone back to how they were. Villanelle has come over to see Eve a few times a week and Eve has done the same, making the journey to Villanelle’s apartment on the days Villanelle doesn’t feel like moving. Their friendship rebuilds fast, which will happen if you see each other ten days out of fourteen.
Eve is desperate to kiss her.
“I think I should go for a scan.”
Eve snaps out of her daze.
“You’ve not had a scan yet? Don’t they normally happen like… earlier than this?”
Villanelle shrugs one shoulder as she searches for a knife to cut her avocados with.
“Usually.” Villanelle says. “But when have I been normal?”
Eve leans against the kitchen island beside Villanelle and studies her face, the soft lines of concentration as she preps her food, the glow her skin seems to have picked up from the hormones.
“Do you…” Eve starts, trails off, then starts again, “do you want me to come with you?”
Villanelle looks up at that.
“Really?” She says, guarded expression not quite disguising the hope in her eyes.
“Sure.” Eve tries to play it down, maybe for her benefit, maybe for Villanelle’s.
Villanelle seems to appreciate it.
“Okay.” She shrugs again, smiling softly. “Sure.”
“How do you… book one of those?” Eve asks. “I literally know nothing about this sort of thing.”
“Well,” Villanelle slides the chopped avocado from the board into a bowl, “I cannot do it the normal way.”
“Because I am dead.” Villanelle says simply. “And I think if a hospital takes my blood, they might be a little confused when my records show Oksana Astankova is pregnant while also dead, you know?”
“Shit,” Eve says, “I hadn’t thought of that. God, what are you going to do?”
They call Carolyn.
Carolyn insists they come over immediately.
Villanelle looks longingly at her avocado salad.
Eve puts it into a tupperware tub and grabs a fork for the ride, feeling warm when Villanelle smiles wide in appreciation.
Eve drives them away from her old marital home to the grand terraced house belonging to Carolyn while Villanelle devours her salad. Eve laughs at her.
“The baby loves greens.” Villanelle mumbles with lettuce sticking out of her mouth.
Carolyn answers the door promptly, of course, and looks from Eve to Villanelle to stomach.
“Well,” Carolyn says, looking at the stretch of Villanelle’s tight t-shirt over the small but noticeably there bump, “this is rather surprising.”
“Tell me about it.” Eve says with raised eyebrows.
“I’m hungry.” Villanelle says.
“You literally just ate.” Eve turns to the blonde, who shrugs.
“Right, well,” Carolyn says, “come in. I’ve made baked sweet potatoes with Greek yoghurt and black beans.”
“Yum?” Villanelle sort of asks, stepping through the front door and seeking out the kitchen.
“Yes, rather,” Carolyn nods, still frowning, “very good meal for pregnant women, particularly in the second trimester. Legumes are an excellent source of fiber, protein, iron and B9, the yoghurt is fantastic for calcium, and the potatoes give you the vitamin A needed for growth.”
Eve stares at the back of Carolyn’s head.
“Jesus.” She says. “That’s… how do you know that?”
Carolyn turns around once they reach the kitchen.
“I have two children, Eve,” Carolyn says with another delicate frown, “why wouldn’t I know?”
Eve watches Villanelle dig into the baked potato covered in yoghurt and lime with a fork she found who-knows-where, straight from the baking dish.
Carolyn sits in one of the high stools by her kitchen island.
“How did this happen?” She asks Villanelle simply.
Villanelle grunts, mouth full yet again.
“Well, when a man and a woman have sex-”
“How did this happen?” She asks again in the same exact tone. Villanelle shrugs.
“I was upset. I had sex. Condom must have broken. Yada yada.”
“What on earth made you upset enough to have sex with a man?”
Eve muffles a laugh. Villanelle’s reputation really does precede her.
She stops laughing when Villanelle stares pointedly at her.
“Ah” Carolyn says, also looking at Eve, “so this is your fault.”
“Not fully!” She says loudly. Then she slumps. “It’s a shared blame, if anything.”
“It is,” Villanelle agrees, “if blaming is what we are doing here.”
“Right,” Carolyn says, “anyway, Villanelle you will continue to work until it is not safe to do so, and then you will work in a consultancy based role until you take maternity leave.”
Eve sees Villanelle’s eyes widen.
“I will arrange for your scans and tests to happen through our private health division so as to avoid any unfortunate issues regarding your identity. Are you keeping the baby?”
“Uh…” Villanelle looks surprised, “no, I want someone else to have it. A proper childhood. Not like mine.”
“Understandable.” Carolyn says while pulling her glasses down from her head and onto her nose. She opens the slim laptop sitting on the countertop. “No maternity leave then, good. I will arrange your first scan to be tomorrow. Any thoughts on how many weeks you are?”
“Well I only had sex the once, so, I guess about… sixteen?”
“A little late on the first scan front then, but never mind.”
Eve’s mind is reeling.
Of all the people to just accept this situation and even offer help and… organisation, Eve did not expect Carolyn.
“Why are you doing this?”
The question is out before Eve can stop it.
Tact really isn’t her thing.
Carolyn stops typing and peers at Eve over her glasses.
“Well, Villanelle may be a nightmare, but she is good at what she does and an asset to the service.” Carolyn looks back at her laptop. “Plus, that child has a chance at becoming not a nightmare, so. Seems prudent that we give it a good head start, don't you agree?”
“You’re not a nightmare.” Eve tells Villanelle later, back on the couch with their feet up on the coffee table. Their hands clutch hot chocolates as music plays quietly in the background.
Villanelle looks at her.
“I am,” she says, a little sad, a little resigned, “it’s okay. I am a bad dream.”
Eve leans in, makes her voice conspiratorial with a heavy edge of warmth.
“Then you’re the best bad dream I’ve ever had.”
Villanelle’s eyes dart to Eve’s lips.
“I miss you.” Villanelle says, an echo of what was said on the phone, not touched upon since.
“I miss you too.” Eve whispers.
Their lips meet.
The kiss is soft and tastes like chocolate.
Eve’s hand lifts to cup Villanelle’s cheek, fingertips gentle on cheekbones she knows so well. Villanelle tilts her head, takes a breath, rejoins their lips. Moves her hand to hold Eve’s arm, touch so delicate yet with the power to keep Eve there for as long as she wants, as long as she needs.
They kiss for a while, until Villanelle jerks suddenly.
“Ah!” She gasps, hand flying to her side and hot chocolate sloshing dangerously, “fuck, ouch.”
“Shit, what, what is it?” Eve instantly panics, backing away.
“Cramp,” Villanelle grunts. She breathes deeply for a moment and the lines of pain disappear from her forehead, “oof. Sorry.”
“Is that… normal?”
Villanelle looks around, as if the answer is in the air.
“I don’t know.” She admits.
Eve bites her lip, and mentally vows to do better.
As Villanelle relaxes, head now in her lap, Eve spends the next few hours reading pregnancy blogs.
The scan takes place at a clinic just outside of London. Everything is clean and white and silver.
Villanelle twitches in her curved plastic seat in the waiting area.
“I am uncomfortable.” She mumbles, shifting. She winces. “And these cramps are terrible.”
“Just wait til you give birth,” Eve chuckles, flicking through a magazine, “ then you’ll know terrible.”
When Villanelle says nothing Eve looks at her and finds her scowling. She repeats her own words in her mind and grimaces.
Villanelle huffs and shifts again.
A woman stands in a doorway wearing a neat white shirt and navy blue trousers, ginger hair tied back in a thick low ponytail. She holds a clipboard.
“Why did Carolyn have to give them my real name.” Villanelle grumbles as she gets to her feet.
“Because you’re not Madonna.” Eve says. “Now let’s go.”
The medical room is also white and clean and silver.
Villanelle is instructed to lie on a bed and roll her sweatpants down and her T-shirt up. She dressed down and comfortable for the occasion, despite the joggers costing a ridiculous £75 from CK. Eve knows this because Villanelle ordered them in front of her yesterday, paying an extortionate amount for next day delivery while ignoring Eve’s insistence that she just borrow a pair of her H&M ones.
“Okay,” the doctor, who calls herself Rachel, says, “I’m going to apply some gel now. It’ll be chilly, just a pre-warning.”
Villanelle nods from the bed.
Eve can tell she’s nervous.
Rachel smears clear goop on Villanelle’s abdomen and the blonde gasps while Rachel chuckles.
“Told you.” She says warmly. “Okay, now I’ll run this wand over you and we’ll see how your baby’s doing.”
Rachel hasn't asked any of the questions Eve expected her to, like who Eve is, who Villanelle is, are they together, and so on, until Eve remembers that this doctor basically works for the secret service, and small talk probably isn’t on her to-do list during appointments.
Eve notices Villanelle’s hand jerk and clench on the bed by her side as the wand touches her belly, so Eve reaches out and holds the fingers in her own palm. Villanelle looks at her and smiles, grateful and a little scared.
“Right then,” Rachel says after a minute of silent wand movements, turning the screen to them, “here is your baby.”
The screen shows what you see in movies and television and on the Facebook profiles of friends.
It’s in black and white. Everything is dark except for a curved trapezium of white and grey in the centre, filled with wiggly lines and shapes. It only takes a second for Eve to make sense of it.
“Holy shit.” Eve mumbles, leaning closer, leaning over Villanelle’s shining belly.
There it is. A blob baby. It has a head, you can see the shape of a nose and chin. There are things that look like legs and even something that must be a spine. Eve can’t stop staring.
“That is in me?” comes Villanelle’s voice, drawing Eve’s attention. She’s pale and wide eyed, and her hand trembles in Eve’s.
“Yep,” Rachel smiles, “they’ve got fingers and toes, their skin is beginning to form, and they’ll likely start sucking their thumb soon.”
“Fingers and toes?” Villanelle says just above a whisper. “Already?”
“Already.” Rachel confirms. “The baby is only about 4 inches long, so those fingers and toes are very tiny.”
Villanelle looks down at her bump.
“They are so small,” she murmurs, “what if they break them in there?”
Rachel chuckles good naturedly.
“They can’t.” She assures Villanelle. “Bone is still forming, and your womb is a fantastic protective home for the baby. You’ll keep them safe.”
Villanelle frowns in concern and touches her sticky belly gently.
“Is there anything else we-” Eve says then catches herself, “ she should know?”
Villanelle squeezes her hand.
“Judging by the images I think it’s safe to say at this point that the baby is growing completely normally, and I see no physical conditions. And judging by the size, I’d say you are due to give birth during January.”
“January?” Villanelle pipes up, interest pulling her out of wherever she’d gone in her own head.
“Mm, early January.” Rachel confirms. “When was your last period?”
Villanelle answers her question and more while Eve stares at her.
She glows, there really is no other way to put it. Everyone that says pregnancy gives women this sort of light is correct, because Villanelle seems to be literally exuding it. Her eyes sparkle, her skin looks bright and healthy, her hair shines. She’s almost ethereal.
“With that information in mind,” Rachel says, “I’d set your due date around January 3rd.”
Eve laughs suddenly, and Villanelle looks at her curiously.
“I swear to god,” Eve chuckles, “if that baby is born on New Year’s Day…”
Villanelle smirks playfully, and she looks like herself again.
“Start the year as you mean to go on.” Villanelle says.
Villanelle is five months pregnant.
Villanelle is crying.
“They’re terrible.” She moans, rotating while staring in the full length mirror in her apartment, Eve sitting on the bed behind her. “I look like a bald tiger.”
“You don’t look like a bald tiger!” Eve laughs, and she wishes she wasn’t laughing because Villanelle is literally crying, but she can’t help it. “You’re beautiful as ever Villanelle, stop it.”
“But look at them,” she whines, stepping close to Eve and tracing her fingers down the new silvery pink lines, “my poor skin.”
“I like them,” Eve shrugs. Villanelle gives her a look, fresh tears still welling up in her eyes. “No seriously I do! I think they make you look stronger.”
Villanelle looks doubtful, but pouts a little anyway.
“Absolutely.” Eve nods. “I’ve always thought stretch marks were kind of sexy on women anyway, there’s something… bold about them, I don’t know.”
Villanelle isn’t crying anymore.
She’s straddling Eve’s lap in a flash.
“Tell me I’m sexy again.” She says lowly, hands clutching at Eve’s cheeks.
“Woah,” Eve says, leaning back to look Villanelle in the eye, “what-”
“I need you,” Villanelle says breathily, hips shifting, “right now.”
Eve has been learning that pregnancy hormones are weird.
Villanelle can go from perfectly content to absolutely furious at the drop of a hat. She can go from excited to sad, happy to helpless, screaming to sobbing, all in just one second. Eve is still learning to keep up.
She knows Villanelle’s hormones have been wreaking havoc, of course she knows. If the mood swings weren’t enough to go by then Villanelle’s increasingly large sexual appetite certainly proves it.
They’ve not had sex yet, not since before the fall out, but Villanelle hasn’t exactly tried to initiate it. She’s as open about masturbation as she’s ever been, telling Eve how some days she can’t stop touching herself and how other days it’s the only thing that calms down her crying or raging or totally blank moods. It turns Eve on without fail, whenever Villanelle mentions it, but not once has Villanelle attempted to take their make out sessions further, so Eve hasn’t pushed it.
“Are- are you sure?” She asks as Villanelle drags her lips up the line of Eve’s jaw. “This is the first time you’ve-”
“I’ve been wanting it since thirteen weeks in.” Villanelle murmurs against Eve’s ear. “But I was worried you wouldn’t find me sexy, considering. But now…”
“You’re always sexy, Villanelle.” Eve is getting caught up in the heat of it now, her mind providing her with vivid memories of just how good it was when they used to do this. “No bump or stretch marks are gonna make me think otherwise.”
Villanelle whines softly and brings her lips to Eve’s, hovering only millimetres away.
“You have no idea how turned on I am.” She mumbles distractedly as her hips start to roll against Eve.
“Hormones are weird.” Eve mumbles back.
The kiss is at once heavy, full of passion and energy, foreshadowing what’s to come in the most perfect way.
Villanelle tugs off her own loose shirt and Eve’s hands go straight to the clasp of her bra, tossing it aside as she continues to kiss and nip at Villanelle’s lips.
The blonde pulls Eve’s tank top up over her head then buries her finger in her curls, grunting as Eve’s hands dance over the warm skin of her back and sides, inching their way to Villanelle’s front.
The blonde pulls back slightly.
“Be careful,” Villanelle gasps, “my tits are killing me, they’re very sensitive.”
“And big .” Eve says, sparing a glance down, “like… wow.”
“I know,” Villanelle sighs a little, “I have had to go bra shopping twice now.”
“Don’t pretend you don’t love to shop.” Eve chuckles, pecking her lips once, twice, as her hands move to gently cup Villanelle’s breasts. “Anyway, I like them.”
“Of course you do,” Villanelle bites at Eve’s bottom lip, “you’ve always liked them.”
“And now there’s extra .” Eve chuckles. “But I’ll be gentle, don’t worry.”
“Just gentle there,” Villanelle sighs as she bucks her hips, “ruin the rest of me, please.”
The shout is loud and laced with fear and has Eve immediately leaping up from the desk in her home office and running downstairs.
“What?” Eve gasps, skidding into the living room where Villanelle sits. “What is it, what’s wrong?”
“It moved.” Villanelle looks wild, panicked as she sits reclined on the sofa. “It moved.”
“It kicked?” Eve rushes towards her and sits down, starting to smile. “Seriously? That’s so exciting, Vil!”
Villanelle looks at her likes she’s insane.
“You would not be saying that if you knew what this felt like.” She says seriously, eyes still wide. “It is like a fluttering but stronger, and it- ah! It did it again!”
“Can I… can I feel it?”
Villanelle seemingly gives up on trying to get Eve to panic along with her. She drops her head to lean back on the sofa cushions, and gestures towards her fairly large belly in defeat.
Eve doesn’t bother holding back her grin as she places her hands on Villanelle’s bump. The skin is warm and firm beneath her palms as she waits.
There. A flutter, like Villanelle said.
Villanelle grunts in discomfort but Eve can only squeal.
“Oh my god that’s amazing,” Eve says in a rush, scooching closer to Villanelle, “holy shit.”
They stay there for a few minutes, Eve content to feel the soft flutters of movement while Villanelle eventually comes around to the feeling. She even places a hand by Eve’s, feeling it for herself.
“God, it’s really in there, isn’t it.” She mumbles.
“It really is.” Eve nods. “Like a little alien.”
“Please do not call my stowaway an alien.”
“Then please do not call it a stowaway.” Eve laughs.
“Well what should I call it?” Villanelle asks, fingers drumming in a way that Eve has noticed has become a habit.
“I am not calling it bean.”
“Well I don’t know.” Eve shrugs. “You can’t give it an actual name.”
“No,” Villanelle agrees, “too personal. Hm. How about… идиот.”
“Aw,” Eve feels her heart skip at Villanelle speaking Russian, and she leans her head down to her belly. She places her lips against the cotton of Villanelle’s T-shirt and kisses gently. “Hello, идиот.”
She is promptly kicked in the face.
“Ow!” Eve yelps as Villanelle jerks her torso forwards in shock.
“Wow, that was a big one.” Villanelle breathes, looking down at her bump. “That was… wow.”
“It kicked me.” Eve says around her laughter.
“Probably because you called it an idiot.” Villanelle grins, eyes sparkling in the low light of the living room.
“Oh- Villanelle!” Eve scolds. “For God’s sake, we are not calling the damn foetus ‘idiot’.”
“Maybe you’re not.” Villanelle shrugs, settling back against the sofa. “Hey,” her voice softens, “maybe it kicked because it felt your kiss.”
Eve’s cheeks almost hurt with how wide she smiles.
“Do you think?”
Villanelle shrugs slightly.
Eve leans forward, pushing her hair back over her shoulder. She lets the tip of her nose brush the warm bump softly before kissing there quietly.
It kicks again.
Villanelle barks out a delighted laugh as Eve quickly sits upright and brings her hands up in the air in celebration.
“Okay, this is all very cute.” Villanelle says once her laughter dies down. “But you need to help me up so I can leave. My ankles hurt.”
Eve can tell.
Villanelle’s once slim ankles are now slightly swollen, and Eve can see that they ache whenever Villanelle gets to her feet.
“Stay here.” Eve says suddenly.
“If you want me to eat you out, Eve, you only need to ask.”
“No,” Eve rolls her eyes, “or, well, yes, later, but that’s not what I mean.”
Villanelle stares at her expectantly as Eve shifts to face her.
“You like me, right?”
“Um, yes?” Villanelle laughs, confused.
“Okay, good, I like you too. A lot, actually.” Eve smiles shyly. “And your apartment is like… beautiful, so beautiful, but not great for pregnant ladies? It’s a lot of stairs and sharp edges and it’s massive. So…”
Villanelle bites her lip, grinning.
“So?” She repeats.
Eve huffs a laughter and looks down as she tangles her fingers with Villanelle’s.
“Move in? Here, I mean. Obviously.”
Villanelle grins breaks free of her bitten lip.
“Okay.” She says.
“Okay? That’s… that’s it?” Eve asks, surprised. “Just like that?”
“Mhm,” Villanelle hums, “okay, drive me to mine so I can get some things? We will have to make several trips.”
Just like that.
Villanelle stops renting her apartment and they sell a lot of Eve’s furniture, partly because Villanelle’s is much nicer and partly because Villanelle refused to sleep in Eve’s old bed if she didn’t have to.
So now they have a new sofa, armchair, kitchen table, dresser, wardrobe and king size bed. They have to fully rearrange the bedroom to fit in said dresser, wardrobe and king size bed, but it’s worth it.
And by they Eve means she , because Eve won’t let her lift or drag anything, and Villanelle is perfectly happy to just sit there and point and direct.
She’s also happy to thank Eve thoroughly for her hard work.
“Oh, fuck.” Eve groans. She buries her fingers in blonde hair as Villanelle buries her own fingers in Eve. “Fuck.”
Villanelle’s tongue circles Eve’s clit then crosses it side to side, a strumming rhythm that has her hips bucking into Villanelle’s mouth desperately, chasing. Her other hand holds the bed frame, keeping her above Villanelle steadily, keeping her from dropping onto the woman completely, only dipping down when Villanelle’s free hand drags her.
Nails dig into her hip as tongue and fingers work furiously, and Eve is close, so close, and so god damn selfishly thankful that the second trimester comes with boundless energy for some women, like Villanelle, like-
She comes hard, shaking as Villanelle moans into her, soaking her lips and chin as bliss tingles at Eve’s fingertips and her lungs struggle to get air.
She breathes, finally, and sags forward before gently collapsing herself to the side of Villanelle, avoiding her bump.
“Again?” Villanelle pants, wiping her chin. Eve laughs.
“Jesus, give me a minute,” Eve breathes, rolling onto her side to place a hand on Villanelle’s chest, “hormones make you insatiable.”
“It’s the blood.” Villanelle tells her, fingers already gently circling her own nipple. “Did you know you gain another three pounds of blood when you are pregnant? It mostly stays down around your abdomen where it’s needed, and the pressure and increased blood flow… you know.” Villanelle waves the same hand in the air above them.
“I know.” Eve nods. “Oh, I know.”
Villanelle is six months pregnant.
“When do you stop working?” Eve asks Villanelle.
They’re sitting in the garden, the soft September breeze brushing past. It lifts Eve’s curls and cools Villanelle’s flushed cheeks. The six months mark brought with it hot flashes, Villanelle’s least favourite pregnancy symptom so far. They seem to hit her pretty hard, leaving her sweating and dizzy and more than irritable, so Eve had bought a cheap garden seating set for outside for them to use at times like these.
Villanelle saw it, kissed Eve thank you, then ordered an entirely new and much nicer set because of course she did. Eve wasn’t even annoyed about her wasted money.
Villanelle’s skin shines in the late summer sun, a product of pregnancy glow mixed with hot flash sweat, and Eve watches her as she squints at the sky.
Eve hums and goes quiet, but only for a moment. It’s become a tender subject.
“I know you don’t like to talk about it-”
“I don’t like to talk about it.”
“-but,” Eve presses on, “ what kind of missions have you been doing? I still don’t understand why you can’t just do the consultancy stuff now .”
Villanelle rubs a hand over her face, movement jerky and annoyed. Eve realises now was not a good time to bring this up. Tact .
“I do not know what you want me to say, Eve.” Villanelle bites out, clearly trying to control her temper. “I have been working because I like to work.”
“Okay!” Eve tries to placate her. “Okay, that’s fine, that’s- that’s fine. But… but what kind of work-”
“What does it matter?” Villanelle turns to look at Eve, frowning. “What does it matter what kind of work it is?”
“Pregnant, yes, I know!” Villanelle’s voice is picking up in volume, unnatural against the gentle quiet of the garden. “I am the one doing it, I am very aware that I am pregnant!”
“Sorry, sorry,” Eve tries, lifting her hands somewhat defensively, “you’re right, I shouldn’t keep asking you. I’m sorry.”
Villanelle blows out a steadying breath and turns her gaze back to the sky.
But the lack of tact Eve has…
“Oh, my god!” Villanelle shouts, pushing herself to her feet. “I still do what I have always done, okay? I still kill people! I plan and I stalk and I kill, just like before this stupid thing started growing inside me. I still kill, and I am still very, very good at it.” Villanelle is towering over Eve now, blocking out the sun with her body, eyes dark as the shadow she casts. “I am better than ever. Do you know why?”
She doesn’t wait for Eve to reply, who can only sit there staring, fighting back tears as whatever is happening… happens.
“Because people do not suspect a pretty pregnant lady of being capable of anything. But guess what? We are .”
Villanelle storms away, back towards the house, flinging open the door but remaining in the doorway
“Last week I suffocated a corrupt bank owner to death. I asked if I could come into his home and borrow his phone. Even terrible men can’t resist helping a pregnant woman in need if it means they can gloat about it later. I stuffed my compression socks in his mouth and pressed my swollen fucking foot on his neck until he stopped breathing, so fuck you.”
Eve feels a protective burn in her chest and she turns from her seated position to stare at Villanelle.
“That’s so dangerous-” she starts, voice wavering with emotion and Villanelle all but screams at the sky, cutting her off.
“I don’t care!” She shouts. “I don’t care if it’s dangerous, I don’t care about this stupid soul sucking, calcium draining, life ruining thing that I am putting in danger, I don’t care!”
“Well you shouldn’t, because it isn’t fucking yours , Eve.” Villanelle rages. “It’s mine . And it’s not even mine! As soon as it is out of me it is gone .” Villanelle drags an angry hand through her hair, far too rough on the strands that have started to thin a little, a product of the ‘calcium draining’ baby. “I am going out.”
The door slams. Eve knows that despite Villanelle being pregnant and despite Eve not being pregnant, there’s no way that she’ll catch her before she leaves. Carrying extra weight or not, Villanelle is a master escape artist.
Instead, she sits and lets her tears fall, because Villanelle is right, isn’t she. The baby isn’t Eve’s. The baby will be gone at the end of this.
Fuck, Eve doesn’t even want the baby. She wants the baby to have a good life with a stable upbringing and parents who aren’t Eve and Villanelle. She desperately wants that for the baby. She supposes because she loves it. She loves that unborn little идиот and she loves Villanelle.
Oh god. She loves Villanelle.
Eve laughs through her tears.
Obviously she loves Villanelle. You wouldn’t invite the woman you’re sleeping with and cuddling with and surviving with to live with you, after months of looking after her and her unborn child, because of anything less than love.
Eve isn’t sure if it complicates or simplifies things.
But whatever. It is what it is. She loves Villanelle. And she loves the baby enough that she knows it can’t stay, loves it enough to know it deserves more than the life Eve and Villanelle can give it.
Eve wipes the tears from her cheeks with her sleeves and breathes in the crisp air for a while, watching the shadows stretch across the lawn like they’re reaching for the light that leaves them behind.
When the sun dips behind the elm tree in the garden, Eve goes inside and grabs her car keys.
She’s been driving for 25 minutes when she finally spots her.
Relief floods Eve’s chest, even though she knew she’d find her eventually.
She slows the car to a crawl alongside the blonde who walks slowly.
Eve checks the mirrors and notes that no one is behind her. It’s a quiet street, thankfully void of cars this evening.
“Villanelle, please, get in the car.”
The rejection sits sweet in Eve’s ears, regardless of its meaning. It’s still a spoken word.
“You must be-”
“I’m not tired.” Villanelle snaps, though Eve sees right through her. Her pace is slow, steps delicate. She’s an expert at hiding emotion and pain, but the way she holds herself gives it away to Eve. A thoughtful walk to someone else is a controlled one two one two to Eve.
“Wasn’t going to say tired.” Eve says simply. “I was going to say cold.”
Villanelle breathes in deep and says nothing, but she’s still only wearing a T-shirt; perfect for September sun, but not night.
“Look, if you’re not going to get in, could you at least put this on?” Eve keeps her eyes on the road as she grabs the sweater she’d thrown onto the passenger seat before leaving. She waves it at the open window. “Vil, take it before I crash, please.”
Eve notices then that Villanelle has stopped walking. She reverses a few metres and stops, staring across the console and out of the window.
“Here.” Eve says, gently tossing the sweater. Villanelle catches it and stares at it. Eve sighs. “Take all the time you need. I’ll have Chinese food waiting for whenever you come home, okay? I’ll keep it hot.”
“Wait.” Villanelle says. Eve turns, hand hovering over the handbrake. “You are just going to leave me?”
“Well, yeah…” Eve says, unsure of the direction this is going, “you won’t get in the car and I’m not going to force you… just wrap up warm, and I’ll see you later.”
“Aren’t you worried I will be ambushed?” Villanelle asks with a frown, now looking at Eve. “A young woman all alone in London, prime for mugging or attacking. Or worse.”
“You?” She laughs. “I’m more worried for them . They’d be lucky to get away with only broken bones.”
Eve watches as Villanelle slowly brings the sweater to her chest, clutching it there, still frowning.
“Villanelle,” she says, “I know you can handle yourself. I am fully aware. Have you forgotten, like… our entire past? I know exactly how capable you are at… literally everything. Including,” Eve waves a hand at Villanelle’s midsection, “carrying an actual developing life form, surprisingly.”
Relief floods her again at Villanelle’s almost-pout. Eve rests her cheek on her hand still clutching the steering wheel, staring at Villanelle in the near darkness. Something clicks.
“You’re not weak,” Eve tells her, “there is nothing weak about this, or you. This doesn’t change who you are. If anything, it adds an extra layer of strength.”
“Then why are you so,” Villanelle waves one hand around frustratedly, the other still wrapped in the sweater, “so upset about my work? About the baby?”
“Because I know you, and I know that despite everything, you’d be pretty fucking distraught if you hurt that little идиот in there.”
Villanelle slides the sweater down to sit gently over her bump.
Covering. Shielding. Protecting.
“It is not yours,” Villanelle repeats her earlier words, sounding angry again, “So why do you care?”
“Because I care about you ,” Eve laughs exasperatedly, “and I love you, Villanelle. And you know what? I love that baby too. I love it because it is part of you; you made it, you grew it yourself... you did that. And I love it enough that I want it to be happy in someone else’s life after this.”
Villanelle’s eyes shine in the glow of the nearby streetlight.
“You love me?”
“Yes, you asshole!” Eve groans, rolling her eyes. “Obviously! My god, you think I rub your chubby ankles because I like you?”
“They are not chubby, they are swollen,” Villanelle huffs, “because I am carrying a whole other thing and have extra blood and extra boob and it is all very heavy, and-” Villanelle trails off and stares at the ground, her next words coming out as a whimper, “and my feet really, really hurt.”
Eve sighs, a breath full of fondness.
“Get in the damn car.”
Villanelle gets in the car.
They’re lying in bed one morning, enjoying the peace, when Villanelle’s phone rings.
“I’ll get it.” Eve says, reaching across Villanelle and kissing the big bump on the way.
“I can reach the phone, Eve.” Chuckles Villanelle, but Eve shushes her.
“Well I’m here now aren’t I.” She sighs dramatically. She grabs it off the nightstand and sees Carolyn’s name.
“This is Villanelle’s phone.” Carolyn says in her usual clipped tone. “Where is she?”
“Hold on.” Eve drops the phone into Villanelle’s already outstretched hand.
“Carolyn.” Villanelle greets.
Eve watches Villanelle talk, traces the edge of her jaw with her gaze, counts the moles scattering her profile until she hangs up.
“She wants me to go for that scan.”
“The mid-pregnancy one?” Eve asks. “But you said you didn’t want to.”
“I didn’t.” Villanelle shrugs against the pillow. “I don’t. But Carolyn says I have to, even though I should have had it weeks ago.”
“Helps with adoption chances or something.” Villanelle shrugs again. “I wasn’t listening. I could feel you staring at me.”
Eve tucks her chin and mouth beneath the duvet, but continues to stare until Villanelle turns to smile at her.
“You look cute.” The blonde tells her. She mirrors Eve’s position, duvet pulled up to her nose. “Can we stay in bed today?”
“Yes.” Eve’s nod frees her curls a little from their hasty bun. “Shall I grab the laptop? We could have a movie day.”
“Yes!” Villanelle says happily, still muffled by the sheet. “And also please can you grab some pop tarts. And a banana. Oh, and some juice. And the honey cornflakes. And-”
Eve throws her pillow at Villanelle’s face.
“Breakfast in bed, coming up.” She tells Villanelle’s scowl, appearing over the top of the cushion. “A breakfast fit for some kind of… cow queen.”
Villanelle flings the pillow at her.
“Did you just call me a cow?!”
Eve laughs maniacally as she runs out of the room.
Villanelle’s belly glistens under the gel as the doctor, still Rachel, moves the scanner across her bump.
She narrows her eyes at the screen and stops, twisting the wand slightly, moving it the tiniest amount to the left. Eve holds her breath, suddenly nervous. Villanelle’s grip on her hand grows right.
“Do you want to know the gender?” Rachel’s voice breaks the tension. Villanelle looks relieved, then aghast.
“No,” she says quickly, shaking her head, “no.”
Rachel turns the screen away from the pair of them for a moment, moving the wand to get an angle that Eve guesses doesn’t show whether the baby has an extra tiny appendage or not.
When the screen is turned back they see a baby, like, an actual baby, easy to distinguish and… an actual baby.
“Oh god,” Villanelle says, staring in some mix of awe and horror, “I can see its feet.”
Rachel laughs and nods, dragging the wand to bring the feet more into view.
“Yep.” She says. “You’re roughly 27 weeks now, which means if this baby came out today it would probably survive.”
“What!” Villanelle yelps, trying to sit up. “But it’s not ready yet!”
Eve gently pushes on Villanelle’s shoulder until she’s lying down again, trying not to laugh at the sheer range of emotions passing over the blonde’s face.
“No, it definitely needs to cook for another three months,” Rachel assures her, “but I’m just saying that if it did, then it might be okay.”
Villanelle’s posture slumps.
She says nothing else for the rest of the ultrasound.
Villanelle pushes her feet into Eve’s lap, kicking the book from her hands and shuffling until Eve gets the hint and starts to rub them.
Villanelle has barely said a word since they returned from the scan three hours ago, sitting by herself in the garden she loves, obviously wanting space.
But now she’s dropped herself next to Eve on the sofa, eyes downcast.
“I don’t want the baby to be done yet.” Villanelle mumbles. Eve looks at her while she presses her thumbs into the soles of her feet.
“Good thing it’s not then.” Eve says softly. “Honestly, I thought you’d want it to be ready.”
Villanelle eyes her nervously.
“Go on.” Eve encourages. “I know you want to say something.”
Villanelle doesn’t say anything. She looks away from Eve and down at her hands instead, so Eve just continues to massage the feet in her lap.
“Will you still love me when I am not pregnant?”
“Is this a real question, or are you fishing for attention?”
Villanelle huffs a sad breath.
“Real.” She murmurs.
“Even if I didn’t want to,” Eve says, “I would love you. I think you could be anything and I would love you. You killed-” Eve pauses, takes a breath, remembers , “you killed my best friend and I still love. And I don’t know what that says about me but it certainly says something about you.”
“What does it say?” Villanelle asks quietly.
“It says that there is something about you that I will always, always be drawn to.” Eve shrugs softly. “No matter what. Like, literally no matter what, it seems. So yeah, Villanelle, I’ll still love you.”
Villanelle’s smile is watery but it’s there, and it’s real.
“Will you still rub my feet?”
“Ugh, absolutely not.”
Villanelle kicks harder than the baby does.
Villanelle is seven months pregnant.
“I’m stuck,” Villanelle huffs angrily, “I’m an international assassin and I am fucking stuck.”
“Vil, just don’t try to move, okay?” Eve tells the woman on the couch. “I’ll go get a hot water bottle.”
“Eve,” Villanelle gasps pained, still grunting as she tries to move, “it hurts.”
“What have we said about using that phrase!” Eve shouts from the kitchen.
“It is not my fault you stabbed me.” Villanelle snaps. “You cannot ban a common phrase just because it brings up negative imagery for you. I am pregnant and I am stuck and I am saying it hurts .”
Villanelle’s back pain has doubled in the last few months, going from an uncomfortable inconvenience to sometimes completely debilitating. A hot water bottle and a massage usually makes it better, but the pain brings a mood with it.
Which is fair enough.
Eve is glad her uterus isn’t pressing on her sciatic nerve, that’s for sure.
Eve hurries back into the living room.
“My pelvis,” Villanelle grunts, “shit, fuck, why both at the same time, why…”
Eve doesn’t know what to do.
She says as much.
“I don’t know what to do.”
“Hot water bottle,” Villanelle groans, “then get back here.”
It’s a helpless feeling, the thing that washes over you when you see someone you love suffering. This isn’t news. Everyone knows this. Eve knows this, has experienced it before.
But this is a fresh kind of hell.
Villanelle struggling to sleep, struggling to get up, struggling to exercise and struggling to even just sit is causing Eve anguish, because what the fuck is she supposed to do ?
She doesn’t want to bring it up, this impending sort of pressure that she’s piling into herself. Villanelle is going through enough, she doesn’t need to hear about Eve feeling sorry for herself on top of all that.
She just… she wants to make it better . She wants to fix it and make Villanelle happy and comfortable and okay . But she can’t. Eve can’t fix it.
So, she stays quiet. Eve does what she can.
She fills the hot water bottle with boiling water while her mind is a mile away, screwing the top in quickly as she brings it back to Villanelle.
She helps press it to Villanelle’s back and-
“Ow, that’s scalding hot!” Villanelle jerks forwards away from the bottle, then winces and yelps at the pain that must cause in her back.
Eve sits on the floor.
So much for keeping quiet.
“Eve, why did- Eve?”
Even with her hands covering her face, Eve can’t hide the sobs that start to wrack her form.
“I’m so sorry.” She cries into her hands.
“Hey, it’s fine,” Villanelle says, worried, “it was just too hot, that’s all-”
“No, not that,” Eve says miserably, “I mean, yes that, but I’m sorry for everything. I don’t know how to help you.”
“You do help me.”
“But I don’t,” Eve shouts, tearing her hands away and letting tears fall freely, “not really! You’re in pain and you’re uncomfortable and you have to stop working and, and I can’t help you, I can’t do anything to make it better.”
There’s a shuffling on the sofa as Eve buries her face in the crook of her elbow, then a sudden thump beside her.
“ No , Villanelle!” Eve scolds wetly. “You shouldn’t be on the floor-”
“I do what I want.” Villanelle says simply, reaching an arm out and pulling Eve into her. “Eve, do you know where I would be right now if it wasn’t for you?”
Eve shrugs, sniffling as her tears soak into Villanelle’s shirt.
“I would probably be in my apartment, lonely and unhealthy and... scared.” Villanelle tells her. “Because as much as you do not know what to do, I don’t either.”
“But you’re having to endure so much,” Eve says, voice scratchy with emotion, “and I can’t fix it.”
“When have you ever fixed anything for me?”
Eve gapes for a moment and tries to find the words because her mouth snaps back shut.
“Exactly. Eve, you have honestly never fixed anything for me. In fact, most of my problems since meeting you have exclusively been because of you. Until this one.”
Villanelle’s hand finds Eve’s and she places it on her large bump. “Okay so you did kind of help create this problem, but, details. This is the first time you have really tried to help me.”
“You chasing me with a tea towel while I was bleeding out does not count.” Villanelle cuts her off. “This is different. You run me bubble baths, you make me food, you rub my feet even though I know you hate them.”
Eve chuckles into the soft cotton against her cheek and Villanelle squeezes her closer.
“You help me exercise, you iron my clothes, you still have sex with me.”
“I will always have sex with you.” Eve mumbles.
“I know, but I am still grateful. I am very horny all of the time.”
“I am aware.”
Villanelle jostles Eve until she laughs. She lifts Eve’s face up with a finger beneath her chin, their lips only centimetres apart.
“I would not have gotten this far without you.” Villanelle says. “And I am not sure when I became this soft, sentimental person, but I am pretty sure that is your fault too.”
Eve kisses her, cheeks still wet and hand still curved over Villanelle’s bump. When she pulls back, Villanelle is smiling.
“Now please help me off the floor, I should not be down here, you are awful, Eve.”
Eve is awoken by a gasp.
It takes a second for her to familiarise herself with where she is and who she is, and by the time she’s done she’s met with another gasp.
“Villanelle?” Eve mumbles sleepily, pushing herself up onto her elbows and turning to face the blonde.
She immediately wakes up fully.
“Vil? What’s wrong?”
Villanelle is flushed bright red and sweating, her eyes clenched shut and her teeth gritted together.
“Hurts.” She bites out breathily.
Eve sits up and hovers her hands near the bump.
“What does it feel like?” Eve asks, gentle but urgent. “Can you describe it?”
Villanelle moves her hand to her lower abdomen, right where the curve of the bump begins. She takes a deep breath and holds it, then her shoulders start to relax.
“It is here.” Villanelle says. “It feels like period pains but worse. Like shock bolts. It’s-” Villanelle tenses again and throws her head back, whimpering.
Eve pushes blonde hair away from a shimmering forehead.
“It feels like…” Villanelle trails off in a gasp, “it feels like the baby is coming.”
Panic flares red hot in Eve.
“It’s too soon.”
Villanelle can’t reply because she’s holding her breath again, tears leaking from tightly closed eyes, and Eve is about to throw herself into the deep end when she catches herself.
No. She can help.
She scrolls through the countless open google tabs in her brain.
“Braxton Hicks contractions.” Eve tells Villanelle. “Your body is practicing.”
“How do you know?” Villanelle asks around a gasp, eyes wide now and fixed on Eve.
“Are the pains coming only from the front?”
“Are they getting worse, or have they been this bad from the start?”
“From the start.” Villanelle whispers tightly. Eve brushes her hair back again and lets her fingers linger there, stroking.
“Okay, we’re gonna count the minutes between them, alright?”
Villanelle nods again, then grabs Eve’s hand.
“Okay,” Eve says softly, setting her phone aside, “we’re gonna get up for a little walk.”
“What?!” Villanelle yelps. Eve tugs at her hand, ignoring her.
“Come on,” Eve encourages, “up.”
Villanelle eventually gets to her feet, wincing as more pain grips her but taking shuffling steps with Eve regardless.
Eve looks at her like this, and can’t believe how much Villanelle still looks like Villanelle. She’s the same all over except for the big bump at her front. Her arms and legs are still toned and slim, she still holds herself proudly with a lazy and attractively smug posture, her skin is still clear and her eyes are still bright. Almost everything about her is the same as before, and Eve is reminded for the millionth time that this is an assassin, this is the assassin, the assassin that killed her friend, killed her ex-boss, killed countless people, planned those kills and performed those kills and got paid for those kills. In that brain sits the knowledge of seven languages, technological knowhow, alarms systems, fighting methods, dance styles, and a whole fuck tonne of shitty movie trivia.
This is still Villanelle.
They walk to the bathroom, to Eve’s home office, to the spare bedroom and back, repeating three times until Villanelle’s breathing is even and the pain is fully gone.
“Braxton Hicks?” Villanelle asks Eve when they step back into the room.
“Braxton Hicks.” Eve confirms with a smile.
“Dumb name.” Villanelle murmurs as she sits down on the bed. She takes Eve’s hands in her own and looks up at her. “Thank you.”
She feels… relieved.
“Anything for you.”
Villanelle is eight months pregnant.
A man breaks into their home.
A really stupid man, like… seriously moronic.
Villanelle’s brain forgets she is pregnant, and so does her body.
The crack of glass wakes them and the crunch of shoe on shards has Villanelle leaping from the bed, knife already in hand from god knows where.
“Stay there.” Villanelle hisses at Eve before walking out of the room, not making a single sound despite literally being eight months pregnant.
Eve ignores her. Obviously.
She gets up and creeps out behind her, following Villanelle down the stairs a few steps behind, staying as silently as she can so as not to alert the blonde while she’s in attack mode.
The footsteps come from the kitchen.
Eve sees the broken window of the back door before she sees the man dressed in all black, but of course Villanelle sees him first.
She launches at him but he’s quick, dodging Villanelle’s swing and getting behind her before wrapping both arms around her neck. Villanelle grabs at his arms but his grip is too strong, so she kicks back at him, heels thudding at knees until one buckles and then he’s falling, bringing them both to the ground.
It’s the fall that seems to bring Eve back.
Villanelle thuds onto her side and shouts in pain, high pitched and gasping, and when Eve sees Villanelle’s arms automatically cradle her stomach, Eve moves.
It’s like she’s been draped in silence. The kind that comes after heavy snowfall, the kind that swallows, the kind that eradicates.
She sweeps down the hallway towards them with this new cloak of pressing quiet. Villanelle’s knife is still clenched in her hand and Eve is able to take it easily, somehow, her motions fluid and automatic and she quickly bends down and slips it from her palm.
The man is moving, had already started moving when Eve started walking, and he’s rolling Villanelle onto her back and something glints in his hands and-
The knife doesn’t go into his back as smoothly as it went into Villanelle’s side, a lifetime ago.
There’s resistance, coiled muscle and the bone of a rib that she definitely hits as the blade sinks in.
He howls and rears back, an ugly sound and sight as blood begins to well around the wound, dark in the dark.
‘Don’t pull it’ comes back to Eve in that moment, so of course she pulls, at a bad angle too oh dear oh no .
It tears a gash up his back and he screams again, then suddenly she’s being thrown, her back hitting the wall with enough force to knock her onto her front on the ground.
There’s no time to register the shock.
Something pulls at her throat, tight and cold, and Eve brings her hand up and finds steel wire digging further and further into the soft skin of her neck.
The pain sings .
Fire dances across and down her throat and air is a thing of the past now with this new pressure, this new slicing pressure that Eve feels actually split the skin at her neck, and her legs kick back and her hands scrabble at the wire but the edges of her vision dim, dim, dark as his blood and dark as the hallway and dark as Villanelle’s shadow across blades of grass beneath an elm tree and, and…
There is only dark.
Until there is light.
“ -right now!”
Eve registers floorboards beneath her shoulder blades and electricity at her neck.
“Say something, move something, just… something , Eve, please!”
Good god, she’s loud.
There’s a hand on her cheek.
“I can’t do this, I need you to wake up, help is coming but, please?”
Maybe it’s the way Villanelle phrases it like a question that gets Eve’s brain firing again.
“Are you okay?”
Eve’s voice is a painful croak and she winces, but it’s worth it to hear the wet sigh of relief from Villanelle.
“Oh god you arsehole, hello Eve, hi, I missed you.”
Eve manages to open her eyes, lids fluttering. Villanelle is crouched next to her, one hand at Eve’s cheek and the other cradled over her bump, cheeks damp with tears and blood but she’s smiling so wide that Eve can’t help but smile back.
It hurts, but she does it anyway.
“How could you miss me?” Eve manages to say. “I was right here.”
“For a moment, you weren’t.” Villanelle’s voice wobbles. “Don’t do that again, it was very stressful.”
“Stressful?” Eve tries to sit up and Villanelle pushes her back. “I was garrotted and you found it stressful?”
Villanelle looks at Eve like she’s insane.
“Obviously?” She says. “I am pregnant, Eve, my stress levels are always high and that was very unhealthy for me. You should apologise.”
Eve coughs a laugh and brings her hand to rest gently on the bump.
“Are you both okay?”
“Oh, we’re fine,” Villanelle sighs and shrugs like this sort of shit happens every week, which… well, for her it does, “when we fell I hit my hip which sent my back into spasm again and I could not move. You saved me, getting stab-happy again, you know.”
“Glad I could help.” Eve says, stroking the stretched cotton of Villanelle’s sleeping shirt.
“Mm,” Villanelle nods, “and then when I could actually move again I finished him off.”
“Sweet Jesus,” Eve chuckles lowly, “so basically… your sciatic nerve nearly killed me.”
“No,” Villanelle drawls, “my sciatic nerve nearly killed us .” She waggles a finger between herself and Eve and the bump. “All three of us.”
“Awesome.” Eve sighs, closing her eyes with another scratchy laugh. “I love you, Vil.”
“I love you too.” Villanelle tells her. There’s some shuffling and then Eve feels Villanelle beside her, lying down. “Let’s wait here for the medical team, hm?”
“This is not good for the baby.” Eve chuckles tiredly.
“The baby has survived yet another murder,” Villanelle shrugs against the floorboards, “I’m sure it can survive the floor.”
Turns out the man was from The Twelve, there to dispose of an asset gone rogue. Really it’s a wonder no one came sooner, it’s not like they had guards patrolling the house.
Medical teams arrive and Eve is deemed lucky, as if she didn’t already know that. Villanelle is checked over and taken to the clinic for a cautionary scan while Eve is taken to be debriefed by Carolyn.
They’re moved into a new house for security and protection.
Eve demands a garden for Villanelle and nothing more.
Villanelle is nine months pregnant.
And she is pregnant .
“Eve, I am so big.”
“I know, sweetheart.”
“But… so big.”
“Yeah, I know, I’m looking at you.”
“No you’re not, you’re making lunch! Pay attention to me.”
“I’m making you lunch, ass hat.”
Villanelle gasps dramatically from their new sofa.
“She called you an ass hat.” She hears villanelle mumble. “Did you hear that, baby?”
Eve walks through with a heavily stacked sandwich on a plate and hands it to Villanelle before crouching by the bump.
“Called her an ass hat, not you.” She tells it before giving it a kiss.
“Ew, you are so sappy.” Villanelle says as she bites into her food. “They are embarrassed, I can feel them cringing.”
“No you cannot.”
“Mhm!” Villanelle hums enthusiastically. “Look!”
Eve entertains the blonde by looking, and-
“Oh Jesus Christ what is happening.”
The bump is… moving. Like a big fist is pushing up against Villanelle’s skin from the inside and dragging downwards. Villanelle waggles her eyebrows at Eve.
“That is the baby starting to position itself, you dick.” Eve says, morbidly fascinated by the movement. “God that is creepy.”
“I know,” Villanelle agrees, “ and it feels weird.”
It’s quiet for a few moments as Eve settles into the armchair and Villanelle eats her lunch, plate balancing on top of her belly.
“I need to pee.”
“You went like half an hour ago!”
“Hey,” Villanelle snaps, “this идиот is using my bladder as a bouncy castle.”
Villanelle wants a Christmas Eve present, because apparently that is a thing.
“Presents are for Christmas Day,” she shrugs at Villanelle who pouts furiously at her from the bed, “you get them tomorrow.”
“But I got you a gift!”
“I didn’t ask for one,” Eve laughs, “I’ll open it tomorrow with the rest.”
Villanelle groans and throws her head back, then tries to get more comfortable. She squishes her body pillow between her legs and wiggles, but after several minutes of huffing she gives up.
“No, don’t call me dear.”
“What do you want?”
“Be nice to me!” Villanelle whines. Eve is getting ready for bed, still in her loungewear as she ruffles her hair after taking it down. She laughs.
“Okay okay.” Eve says with a smile. “Gimme a second and I’ll come cuddle you to sleep.”
Villanelle crosses her arms and pouts.
“Yes please.” She mumbles.
Eve hears Villanelle shuffle again as she starts to take off her clothes, but it stops somewhere during Eve tugging off her sweater.
Eve looks to her to find Villanelle staring, eyes dark.
“Enjoying the show?” Eve chuckles, and Villanelle nods.
“Maybe this can be my gift.” She says, voice innocent but smirk devilish, and Eve thinks why not ?
She unties the strings of her joggers and lets them drop with a few shakes of her hips, staring coyly at Villanelle through her curls as they go. Next goes the T-shirt, tossed somewhere behind her as Villanelle’s gaze sharpens. She pushes herself up onto her elbows.
“God, you look so good.” Villanelle murmurs, eyes tracing Eve’s chest and hips. “I told you that set would suit you.”
And it does, Eve has to admit. The bra and panties are dark green and silky, simple yet stylish, bringing out the lighter tones in her hair and complementing her olive skin tone beautifully.
Villanelle is never wrong.
“You look pretty good yourself.”
Villanelle scoffs and averts her eyes.
“I don’t.” She huffs sadly. “I’m all big and swollen and stretched.”
“Hey,” Eve says sharply, kneeling on the bed beside Villanelle, “you are gorgeous, okay? You will always be completely and unfairly stunning to me. The end.”
Villanelle smiles a little at Eve and tugs her closer. She trails her fingers across the silk cups of the bra, and Eve shivers.
“Do you know what I miss the most?” Villanelle says distractedly, dancing her fingertips across Eve’s covered nipples in a way that has her breathing quicken. “Being able to lie on my front and eat you out. Nothing beats seeing your head thrash against the pillows while my tongue is in your pussy.”
Villanelle knows that dirty talk is a direct line to Eve’s clit.
She moans softly and shifts her thighs together, sighing as Villanelle’s eyes dart down to the darkening silk between Eve’s legs.
“You’re wet.” Villanelle purrs through a growing smirk.
“Of course I am,” Eve murmurs, spreading her legs wider as she kneels, “you know what your words do to me.”
Villanelle rolls onto her side, one arm cushioned beneath her head and the other reaching for Eve. She holds her hip gently and tugs until Eve is closer, close enough for Villanelle to slip her fingers beneath the silk and-
“Oh,” Eve sighs, thighs spreading wider still, “fuck.”
Villanelle’s fingers find Eve’s clit with practiced ease and start circling slow and steady, increasing in speed and pressure with every moan from Eve’s lips.
Villanelle doesn’t let up until Eve is begging.
“Please, please,” she pants, hips bucking as she kneels.
“Please what?” Villanelle breathes silkily.
“Make me come, I need-” Eve cuts herself off with a moan as Villanelle presses harder still at Eve’s clit. Villanelle’s other hand leaves Eve’s hip to cup her neck, reaching, pulling.
“Come here.” Villanelle says, her voice rough and low, and Eve bends forwards, connects her lips with Villanelle’s.
It’s everything in a kiss, and then more when Villanelle bites her lip, and then more when Villanelle pinches her clit, and then-
Eve comes, moans into Villanelle’s mouth, one hand in blonde hair and the other fisted against the sheets to keep her upright, and through the sweat and the slick and the ache in her legs, Eve realises.
She wants this forever.
“So, obviously I don’t make as much money as you, but I know you prefer quality over quantity, so I only got you two gifts.”
Villanelle is bouncing like a child on the sofa, swaddled in blankets while in the comfiest loose cotton pyjamas Eve could find at the ninth month mark. Eve is holding the two gifts in front of her, wrapped perfectly by the girls in the stores she bought them from because Eve is absolutely incapable of wrapping, especially in the way she thinks Villanelle would appreciate.
“I don’t care,” Villanelle says giddily, “it doesn’t matter.”
Eve takes in the delighted smile and the skin flushed with excitement, the bright eyes and the honest to god enormous bump, made even bigger by the fact that Villanelle is still slim and toned, maybe less toned than before but still more so than Eve is, a woman who is not nine months pregnant.
But anyway, Eve could wax lyrical about how Villanelle looks forever, wants to, forever, but the blonde is bouncing and making grabby hands for the gift and Eve feels kind of cruel denying her while getting all poetic in her own mind.
“I really love you, you know that?”
Villanelle stops bouncing and stares at Eve. The lights from the Christmas tree twinkle in her eyes, making them shimmer with colour.
Eve has never been one for decorating for Christmas but Villanelle has insisted. She wanted a tree with multicoloured lights and tinsel and god awful baubles from Paperchase and Asda and a dodgy warehouse sale, so Eve made it happen. Obviously.
She gets the feeling Villanelle hasn’t… done this, before.
A festive Christmas.
“Oh,” Villanelle says, sort of surprised. She smiles shyly, then coyly, then “I love you too.”
“Okay,” Eve nods, pleased with the transaction or something, “here.” She holds out the smaller present to Villanelle.
“So, um,” Eve starts as she sits next to Villanelle, settling into the vast sea of blankets draping the woman and the sofa, “this… isn’t as expensive as your usual jewellery, but I promise it’s good quality.”
Villanelle is too busy tearing off the shiny ribbon and pearlescent paper to answer, bottom lip held between teeth in concentration and excitement.
She tosses the wrapping aside and examines the square velvet box before prying it open carefully.
“I know it’s tiny but it’s solid gold,” Eve says nervously to fill the silence, “and it cost, like, enough , y’know. But if you don’t like-”
“I love it.” Villanelle says softly.
She pulls the jewellery from the box slowly, revealing the solid gold apple pendant necklace Eve had found online. The pendant is tiny and round with delicate leaves and a gently detailed finish, suspended from a twisted gold chain that glitters when it catches the Christmas lights.
Villanelle brings it towards her chest and peers down at it softly.
“It’s you.” Villanelle says with a sweet smile. “Apple, Eve.”
“That’s… literally what I googled when I saw the apple in the crime scene photos for that boy you killed in the french hospital,” Eve laughs, before sobering, “which, by the way, what the fuck , we have to talk about that one. But, yeah… the apple was for me, wasn’t it?”
Villanelle nods slowly, still smiling.
“I knew it,” Eve grins, “I knew I wasn’t crazy.”
“Oh, you were definitely crazy.” Villanelle scoffs, leaning to fasten the necklace around the back of her neck.
“I’m your kind of crazy.” Eve nudges the woman playfully.
“Definitely.” Villanelle smiles.
They sit and stare for a moment, warm and happy and all ooey gooey, until Villanelle’s eyes flick to the other present in Eve’s lap.
“Oh, right, uh…” Eve picks up the bigger gift and hands it over. “I think you’ll like this one.”
“Of course I will.” Villanelle says, already ripping the paper.
“No but,” Eve shuffles closer, “you’ll really like this one.”
Villanelle freezes when she sees the Givenchy dust cover bag.
“What…” Villanelle starts, hands shaking a little, “what-”
“Open it!” Eve laughs at Villanelle’s suddenly overwhelmed expression.
Villanelle removes the soft cover like it’s something holy.
Her gasp just about pierces the air.
“Is this the new Givenchy Antigona bag?” She breathes, all high pitched and tight.
“Yeah,” Eve smiles shyly, “it cost like… half a month’s paycheck but-”
Villanelle squeals .
“Oh my god,” she yells, shrill enough to make Eve wince while laughing, and she clutches the bag desperately to her chest, “it is so beautiful and so perfect and so expensive and so-”
“What?” Eve’s smile fades. “What’s wrong? Is it not the right one? The lady said…”
Eve trails off when she notices Villanelle looking down at her lap and shifting.
“Hm.” Villanelle says carefully, placing the bag aside and shifting again.
“Are you okay?”
Villanelle purses her lips in thought as she looks from her lap to Eve.
“The baby is coming.”
All air is sucked from the room.
“What?” Eve breathes.
“Yes,” Villanelle says simply, still staring at Eve, the very picture of casual.
“Well…” Eve trails off, the room coming back into focus, “how do you know?”
“I mean,” Villanelle pulls the blankets away from herself to reveal completely sodden pyjama bottoms and a dark smear on the sofa cushion beneath her, “unless I have pissed myself…”
“Nope, okay, yeah, your waters have broken.”
“I can’t believe you packed a hospital bag.”
“I can’t believe you forgot I would need a hospital bag.”
Eve is driving them as quickly and as safely as she can through thankfully empty streets. Perks of going into labour on Christmas morning, she supposes.
“Well, no, I knew you’d need one,” Eve argues, eyes on the road ahead, “I just figured you had more time.”
“My due date is in a week and a half,” Villanelle laughs, “at what point where you going to bring it up?”
“Look, it doesn’t matter,” Eve says, “you did it yourself, so everything is fine.”
Villanelle hums in agreement as she bites into a mince pie.
“I have and always will be incredible at planning.” She says, pastry crumbs falling and bouncing off her belly. “When is it supposed to start hurting, by the way?”
“Shouldn’t you know that? You’ve been having weekly check ups for a month now, don’t they tell you?”
Eve sees Villanelle shrugs out of the corner of her eye, and laughs exasperatedly.
“Oh boy,” Eve shakes her head, “okay, well the Internet says you’ll probably start having contractions in the next 24 hours. We might get turned away at the hospital if they don’t think you’re ready.”
“But I am ready.” Villanelle says, finishing off her snack. “Let’s just get on with it.”
Eve shakes her head again with a fond smile.
Villanelle starts to fiddle with the radio, flicking through stations until she lands on one playing ‘Santa Baby’.
“Oh, I love this one.” She says, and starts to hum along.
“Aren’t you nervous?” Eve, tact queen, blurts out. “Like… I’d be all over the place right now.”
“Eh,” Villanelle tilts her head, “I have been through worse. I’ve been shot at, beaten, tortured. Even stabbed once, you know.”
Eve tuts at her.
“So you’re really not… scared?” Eve asks. “Apparently childbirth is the worst kind of pain.”
Villanelle simply shrugs again as she tears the foil off another mince pie from a stash she must have somewhere on her person.
“I doubt that.”
“Eve I am dying.”
“You’re not dying.”
“I am, I am dying!”
“You’re not dying but I am going to if you don’t let go of my wrist, Jesus Christ Villanelle.”
The death grip on her wrist lessens slightly and Eve feels the blood rush gratefully back into her hand.
“Thank you,” she sighs, shaking it.
Villanelle’s contractions started the second they walked into the small private hospital, and they started hard.
She’d nearly broken Eve’s fingers.
They were immediately rushed to a private room, halls quiet as they passed through, as if other people had decided that Christmas morning was not a good time for birth and accidents.
Villanelle always has liked to show off.
In a pair of soft shorts and a loose tee that cost more as a set than Eve’s fancy pyjamas, Villanelle lies in a hospital bed.
Or, rather, writhes.
“Jesus fuck this hurts.” She whines, back arching. “And they are so close. Are they supposed to be this close?”
Eve stands by the bed and brushes Villanelle’s hair back from her damp forehead.
“You do seem to be rushing through labour a bit,” Eve says, “but it’s okay, it doesn’t mean anything is wrong.”
Villanelle grumbles then winces, hips trying to lift again as the pain of the contraction rushes through her.
After a minute it stops and Villanelle drops back to the bed, panting.
“I cannot wait for this to be over.”
Eve studies the blonde, thumb delicately tracing a line between her brows.
“Have you decided if you’re going to hold the baby or not?”
Villanelle rolls her head back and closes her eyes for a second, before turning and looking up at Eve.
“I read that skin to skin contact is very important for babies.”
“Hm,” Eve says, “I read that too. But you are allowed to choose, Villanelle, don’t feel obligated.”
“I think,” Villanelle says slowly, “that I should. Hold it, I mean. Just for a few minutes. I do not want it to grow up with abandonment issues like-”
She stops talking, but Eve knows.
“I think that’s a lovely idea, Vil.” Eve reassures her. “And I’ll be right with you, and I’ll hold you once they’re gone.”
“Cool.” Villanelle says shortly. Her eyes are starting to shine with tears.
“So,” Eve says, “excited to get that expensive loungewear covered in blood?”
Villanelle laughs wetly.
“I am, actually, yes. It’s been a while since I saw my own blood, not since-”
Birth is… messy.
Understatement, but nonetheless true.
Villanelle shouts a lot, face scrunched up with tears streaked down pained cheeks, and she slips into Russian. Eve doesn’t understand the words but knows they’re probably curses and threats and insults, fired at the nurses and doctor and the baby itself.
The shorts are long gone and the shirt is bunched up above her bump, damp with sweat as she tries to breathe.
Her hand flies to Eve more than once, and Eve is there. Every time.
The baby is pink and wrinkly and screaming , but it’s here and it’s real and it’s this living little thing.
Eve watches as the doctor and nurse see to it quickly and then they’re by the bed, and Villanelle is sweating and panting, and they ask her if she’s sure.
They place the baby on her chest, free of her T-shirt at some point during birth, and the baby goes quiet.
Villanelle stares down at it and cups it gently with her hands, holding it there as she continues to desperately catch her breath.
Eve doesn’t intrude.
She knows this moment isn’t for her.
Villanelle strokes her fingers over the baby’s sticky head with a delicate reverence Eve has never seen from her, from anyone. The baby shifts, still fairly quiet.
Words are whispered like a prayer, falling soft from Villanelle as she speaks in hushed Russian to the infant in her arms, gentle and rhythmic and soothing in a way Eve didn’t know Villanelle could be.
A few minutes pass.
Villanelle takes a breath.
“Okay,” she says tiredly, “you can take them now.”
And the nurse does.
Later, in a fresh bed and fresh clothes, Villanelle dozes against Eve.
“Can we go home yet?” She mumbles into Eve’s sweater.
Not dozing, then.
“Soon.” Eve tells her.
“You still need to open your gifts.” Villanelle mumbles sleepily.
Eve’s laugh is quiet.
“We’ve got plenty of time for that.” Eve says softly. “You just pushed a football out of your vagina, let’s maybe focus on that instead.”
“Eh,” Villanelle murmurs, “gifts are better.”
“I mean, this kind of was a gift.” Eve says. “Born on Christmas Day and all.”
“Like,” Villanelle shifts a little, “a present for its new family.”
“Exactly,” Eve smiles, snuggling Villanelle further into her, “and a gift for us too.”
Villanelle tilts her head to look up at Eve.
“Because you’re not pregnant anymore.” Eve shrugs. “I can stop rubbing your feet.”
Villanelle punches Eve’s thigh weakly.
They cuddle in silence for a while and listen to the distant goings on of the private clinic, alone in their bubble, in their room, in their life together.
“You spoke Russian to the baby.” Eve says softly, after a while. Villanelle breathes out slowly.
“ I told it it ruined my life.”
“No you didn’t.”
A gentle sigh.
“No, I didn’t.”
Eve doesn’t push it.
She doesn’t need to know.
Villanelle says nothing for a few moments, maybe gathering courage, or preparing or guarding or something.
“Do you think my vagina will ever go back to how it was?”
Eve’s laugh is loud this time.
“No, sweetheart, probably not.”
“Ugh,” she grumbles, “stupid идиот.”
Villanelle starts crying after that. The tears are silent, tremors shaking her shoulders, and Eve holds her close and knows, without a doubt, that she’ll never stop holding Villanelle.
Silence settles again.
Tears eventually subside.
“I can’t believe a designer bag made me go into labour.”
She will never stop holding Villanelle