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Eve takes a shuddering, heaving breath before diving back in. If Villanelle dies, Eve dies- and she's going to fight their death with every cell in her blood.

 

She dives deep, eyes and lungs stinging in the cold water. Her ears start to ache with the pressure when she kicks hard and wraps a hand around Villanelle's wrist. Eve pulls and pulls, trying to use the last remaining air in her lungs to help them get to the surface. 

 

They're caught in the weightlessness; if Eve tugs, Villanelle rises, but she sinks a little. Her chest starts to ache and she has to surge out again for another heaving breath. She dives back in and swims underneath her, pushing Villanelle up by her thighs and hips until she's finally broken the surface. 

 

"Villanelle," she knows she's unconscious, but there's a part of her that hopes the words will make their way into her waterlogged ears, "Villanelle."

 

Eve's thighs burn as she swims harder than she ever has in her life. Her pant legs and sweater sleeves swirl around her, dragging every motion a little more than she needs it to but there's no time- she needs Villanelle, and Villanelle needs her.

 

There are already onlookers at the side of the docks and Eve screams, "ambulance! Ambulance!" until her throat gives out, and then she keeps screaming. 

 

A man tosses out a life ring from the dock and she fumbles at it, pinning Villanelle between her chest and the plastic: she says her name quietly over and over and over again.

 

He helps hoist her out of the water by her armpits and Eve climbs out as fast as she can, sinking to her knees on the rickety wood.

 

"W-what happened?" he's shaking.

 

Eve is already rolling up her sleeves, "call a FUCKING ambulance."

 

She presses the back of her hand to her palm, links her fingers, locks her elbows, and puts her weight onto Villanelle's breastbone. 

 

"We need an ambulance- the docks. She's drownin-"

 

Push, "she," push, "was," push, "shot," push.

 

He stares at her, "s-she was shot, too."

 

The sides of her ribs swell out with every hard push- crimson starts to seep from the wound in her chest. 

 

"Yes, CPR- the... no- yes."

 

"Put," push, "pressure," push, "on" push, "her," push, "bleeding."

 

He bundles his shirt and holds it tight to Villanelle's chest.

 

She gets to the thirtieth push and reaches for Villanelle's head, tilting it upwards, pinching her nose shut, and sealing their mouths together. 

 

Her lips are cool against Eve's warmth. This can't be their last kiss.

 

Two of Eve's deep breaths make Villanelle's chest rise and fall. 

 

Eve's soaked sweater would be making her chilled if she weren't panting with the effort of trying to save the half of her heart that beats in another ribcage.

 

Thirty more pushes, two more breaths.

 

They've come so far.

 

Thirty more pushes, two more breaths.

 

So far.

 

Thirty more pushes, two more breaths.

 

Eve's arms ache.

 

Thirty more pushes, two more breaths.

 

She'll never give up on her.

 

Thirty more pushes, two more breaths.

 

Red and blue finally arrive.

 

Two more breaths.

 

Heavy boots on wood.

 

Two more breaths.

 

The squeal of a defibrillator.

 

Eve pants hard and brushes soaked curls out of her face, "she's-" a swallow, "gunshot wounds- blood loss," she needs to block out her own words, "hospital."

 

"Head or neck trauma?"

 

Her curls shake.

 

Villanelle's spine arches with the sharp clunk of a thousand volts. A clear mask is slipped onto her face.

 

"Three, two, one," she's slid onto a stretcher. 

 

Eve is never less than a foot from her side as she's raced to the ambulance, and she only stops squeezing her cold hand when they need to shock her heart again- she feels the electricity nestled between her lungs even without the contact.

 

"Do you know her?"

 

The sirens and radio chatter blend into a buzz in her ears.

 

Better than myself, "yes."

 

"Family?"

 

Yes, "no."

 

"Partner?"

 

Yes, "yes."

 

"Did you see what happened?"

 

Her blood is on my sweater, "she was shot in the back- long range. Jumped into the water."

 

"How many shots?"

 

She looks so pale, "at least three."

 

"Do you know her blood type?"

 

We're the same, "AB positive."

 

"Do you know when she last ate?"

 

"Within the last two hours," that can't be our last meal.

 

"Previous surgeries?"

 

"One- abdominal puncture" you can't go without me, "no organ damage."

 

"Allergies?"

 

Eve brushes wet hair from her forehead, "none."

 

"Medications?"

 

You're my everything, "none."

 

"Any drugs or alcohol in her system?"

 

Please, "no," don't take her.

 

They lurch to a halt, cords and equipment sliding on the walls as the doors are flung open.

 

Hospital cacophony.

 

Announcements, crying, squeaky wheels, conversations, beeping, running, doors bang open, sobbing.

 

She's handed a clipboard, "you need to fill out her registration."

 

"I need to stay with her."

 

"You can't, she's going to triage, you c-"

 

Eve takes the clipboard and rips the pen from its chain.

 

She hesitates, weighing the risks.

 

Surname: Morel

Given Name: Sylviana

Date of Birth: March 12 1993

Allergies: n/a

Pre-existing conditions: n/a

Reason for admittance: gunshot wounds, drowning

 

Emergency Contact: Tallulah Shark 

Relationship: partner

Phone Number: +44 7975 777666

 

The clipboard is tossed back onto the desk and Eve follows the signs for triage.

 

Someone stops her, "ma'am, you can't-"

 

"Let me through," she tries to push past him.

 

"This-"

 

She dodges under his arm and pushes down the hall, wet boots squeaking on the linoleum.

 

Another desk, "a woman just came in- gunshot wounds, drowning- where is she?"

 

Keyboard clacking, "she's headed to an operating room."

 

"Where."

 

"You can't-" 

 

"Where."

 

"I can't disclos-"

 

"I just saw my partner get shot and then pulled her out of the water," white knuckles, "where is she."

 

Stammering, "I- ma'am, it's the law- you can't go in the operating room."

 

Eve slams a hand flat on the desk and the nurse jumps, "fuck the law."

 

"Y-you can wait in the waiting area," she peers at her wet handprint, "could I get you some dry clothes?"

 

"Yes," she's freezing, "where is the waiting room."

 

A gesture, "down the hall, just after the vending machines. I'll bring your clothes in a moment."

 

"I'd like them now."

 

"...okay."

 

Her chair creaks as she stands and disappears into a room behind her. Eve is handed a set of thin sweatpants, socks, and a pullover.

 

"Is there a washroom where I can change."

 

"On the other side of the waiting room."

 

Drip drip drip drip from her pant legs, "do you have a plastic bag."

 

"Um," she looks under the desk, "here," and holds one out.

 

Eve wordlessly takes it and changes in the washroom. 

 

She doesn't read a magazine, watch the silent, subtitled television, make small-talk, nap, or buy anything from the vending machine; Eve sits and stares at the double metal doors for fifteen hours without moving once.

 

Grey scrubs and a clipboard, "Tallulah Shark?"

 

Her knees ache when she stands. She's led to a small, barren office.

 

"Your friend-"

 

"Partner."

 

He looks at his clipboard, "right, sorry."

 

Eve knows she can't kill this doctor, "she's alive?

 

"She's fighting for her life- what's your blood type, Tallu-"

 

"Whatever she needs, yes."

 

He stalls, "...what?"

 

"You want to know if we match, right? For blood, or an organ?"

 

"Well, ye-"

 

"We're the same- AB positive."

 

He purses his lips, "this is a big decis-"

 

"It's not. Whatever she needs."

 

"She needs more th-"

 

"Whatever she needs," Eve snaps, "yes- what do I need to do."

 

A heavy drawer of a filing cabinet groans as he opens it, rifling through before slipping her a handful of forms. Eve skims them, signing and initialling where appropriate, filling out medical information- yes, she understands the risks of being under anaesthesia, yes, she understands the risks of living organ donation, yes, her body will be impacted by the losses, and yes- it's all worth it.

 

She's already given Villanelle her heart, she can have the rest.

 

Whatever she needs.

 

Less than an hour later, a thick mask is pulled over her mouth and nose.

 


 

Eve wakes first.

 

She hammers on the button for the nurse.

 

Purple scrubs, "how are y-"

 

"Where is she," she croaks.

 

"Who?"

 

"My partner- I'm her living donor."

 

The nurse walks to her side and pulls back the curtain that divides the room in two.

 

She's crumpled with a thick breathing tube lodged down her throat, two IV's pricking at her hand, and a swell of bandages across her torso so thick that she can see them through the sheets.

 

Eve breathes through a shaky smile; she's alive.

 

Her abdomen burns when she sits up and she winces while she rights herself.

 

The nurse rushes to her, "oh, you shouldn-"

 

"I need to touch her," she pushes through the pain and onto her feet, bearing her weight onto the bed railing

 

"You should lie down."

 

"I'm going to sit with her."

 

"Ma'am-"

 

Eve levels her with a glare, "I'm going to sit with her. If you want, I'll lay back down- but the second you leave I'm getting up again."

 

"...you can't sit in her bed, it's not safe for her."

 

"A chair, then- please."

 

She braces herself while she waits, breathing through the scorching pain in her abdomen.

 

A wheelchair enters the room and she allows the nurse to help her into it as an olive branch, "thank you."

 

"Sure- call if you need."

 

"Please close the door behind you."

 

It clicks, and they're alone.

 

Eve clumsily wheels herself to Villanelle's side. 

 

She's alive.

 

Her hand is warm when Eve reaches for it and she's alive. 

 

There's a weak, but steady pulse under Eve's fingers and she's alive.

 

Eve wipes at her eyes and whispers, "hey."

 

She's still unconscious, but it's okay; the other half of Eve's heart is still beeping quietly through the room.

 

"We did it," she squeezes her fingers, "it's done."

 

Eve holds Villanelle's hand in both of hers and watches her chest rise and fall gently.

 

Her throat hitches, "I'm... God, you're alive."

 

Despite the blood, stitches and shell casings, she still feels soft.

 

"I, um," she exhales deeply, "I have something to tell you, but I want you to be awake when I do- so," Eve's chuckle is watery, "if you could get on that, that'd be great." 

 

She looks out the window, "it's sunny outside."

 

On the first day, Eve tells Villanelle about the weather, how many ceiling tiles there are, what the room looks like, and how happy she is that she's alive.

 

On the second day, she tries to describe the plot of a movie she watched one time but can't remember the name of. She does the same with a book she read in high school that she's never been able to find since.

 

The third day is full of complaints of how much the hospital food tastes like plasticine, why the hell are the lights so bright all through the night, and that the room is freezing.

 

Theories on which nurses might be sleeping with which doctors take up the majority of the fourth day. 

 

The nurses hate Eve.

 

She won't stay in her bed, she talks back, she watches anyone who goes near Villanelle with a piercing glare, and she won't stop fucking talking, but Eve couldn't care less because Villanelle is alive.

 

Eve talks to her about anything and everything- she just wants Villanelle to know that she's still there.

 

That she'll always be there.

 

Eve is trying to remember the plot of Inception on the fifth day, "okay so then- I think the street bends in half? It's a waking dream thing, I'm not reall-" her fingers twitch.

 

Her eyes snap to Villanelle's face, "Villanelle?"

 

There's movement under her eyelids.

 

"Villanelle?"

 

She squeezes her hand, "Villanelle? Can you hear me?"

 

Her fingers twitch again. 

 

Eve shifts closer, "Villanelle?"

 

A flutter of eyelashes.

 

"Villanelle?"

 

Finally, hazel.

 

Her smile is going to split her in two, "Villanelle."

 

She squints a little before coughing weakly- panic quickly springs in her eyes as she touches the tube taped to her face.

 

"Hey- no, it's okay," Eve reaches out for her searching hand, "it's a breathing tube."

 

Villanelle tugs her hand free and tries to peel at the tape. 

 

Eve grabs her wrist, "stop it, you need it."

 

She tries again and Eve can't stop herself from laughing, "Villanelle!"

 

Her eyes narrow and Eve has never been happier that she's being glared at. She leans over to press the button to call the nurse before sinking back into her seat and smiling wide.

 

Five days in, the nurses know that it's useless to ask Eve to leave them with Villanelle. They remove the breathing tube, check her levels, draw some blood, and examine her bandages before leaving them alone again.

 

"Hi," Eve smiles.

 

Villanelle sips from a paper cup and clears her throat, "hi."

 

"I'm so happy you're alive."

 

Her chuckle is hoarse, "me too- how did that happen?"

 

Eve adopts a fake little accent, "oh well, it's really something," she twirls a curl with a finger, "see, I thought you were super hot, and you needed some organs, so here we are."

 

Villanelle laughs loudly, "I'm serious- I thought I died."

 

"I'm serious, too!" she pulls her hospital gown aside to reveal her own recently-changed bandages.

 

Her eyes widen, "what?"

 

"That's right, bubba," Eve grins, "cute, right?"

 

"You gave me an organ."

 

"I gave you organS, plural- you've got one of my kidneys and half of my liver."

 

Villanelle's mouth drops open.

 

"And!" Eve laughs, "we already know we can pee in front of each other."

 

"I have two of your organs."

 

"Technically one and a half- apparently you almost got part of a lung, too."

 

She pouts, "aw, why didn't I get the lung?"

 

"You still want it? We can call the nurse, get back under the knife."

 

Villanelle beams, "hi."

 

Eve does, too, "hi."

 

She leans out of her seat to meet her lips and hums when Villanelle holds her face in both hands.

 

"Ugh," Eve wrinkles her features, "your breath reeks."

 

"So does yours."

 

"Yours is worse," she kisses her again through a wide smile.

 

Villanelle laughs against her mouth, "what happens now?"

 

Eve sits back into her chair, "well apparently I'm good to leave in like two days but you need a few more, so obviously I'm ditching you."

 

"Where are you going? Can I come?"

 

She makes a show of thinking hard, "I guess, yeah."

 

"Roadtrip?"

 

"We'll have to steal another camper van."

 

"Awesome."

 

Eve laughs, "I think we get a hotel room and lay low for a few days, just until the doctor says you're fine."

 

Villanelle bounces her eyebrows, "a hotel room, huh? Whatever will we do?"

 

"I already asked, we can't have sex yet."

 

"Bullshit," she drops her head back.

 

"I did! We both had major surgeries, it's not safe."

 

"But that's why we deserve sex."

 

Eve holds up her hands, "hey- I'm on your side. I just don't want us to be interrupted by an explosion of stitches when we have sex."

 

"When we have sex? Not if?"

 

"If you hadn't gone and gotten shot, we'd have had sex five days ago."

 

Her grin is stupid, "who says I want to have sex with you?"

 

"You. Multiple times."

 

"I-"

 

"Soo many times."

 

"That's n-"

 

"You told me you masturbated about me 'a lot."

 

Villanelle gawks, "that was years ago!"

 

"Ohh," Eve raises a playful brow, "so, you don't want to have sex with me? Cause I'll actually ditch you if that's the case."

 

"No! I-"

 

"You don't?!" Eve puts a dramatic hand over her chest, "that's it- it's over, I'm leaving."

 

"No, don't ditch me!" Villanelle pouts, "I'm all alone in a foreign country and I really want to have sex with you!"

 

She leans up to kiss her again, "alright, fine- but you're on thin ice."

 

Villanelle giggles and pulls her closer.

 

Eve shifts to sit on the mattress beside her and cups her cheek, "I have something I want to tell you."

 

"You already told me my breath stinks."

 

She throws her head back with a laugh, "it's not that."

 

"Oh, good," she smiles, "what is it? Do I smell?"

 

"Yes, but that's also not it."

 

"Is-"

 

"Can you stop interrupting me for like a second? I'm trying to say something, here."

 

"Ugh, fine," she sits with a wide smile and shining eyes.

 

Eve brushes the curve of her cheekbone with a thumb, "I love you so much."

 

Villanelle bites her bottom lip before tugging Eve in by her curls and melding their mouths together. Their noses smush against each other, they're both breathing heavy, and it's the best either of them have ever felt.

 

"You don't have t-"

 

"I love you so much, too," she beams.

 

Eve presses their foreheads together and closes her eyes. 

 

It's clicked.

 

"Oh, by the way, my name is Tallulah."

 

"You've been lying to me this whole time about your name?"

 

"So have you, yours is Sylviana."

 

Her brows furrow, "what?"

 

"I figured it'd be a little suspicious if someone shot you dead and then you checked into a hospital."

 

"Ohh," she winks, "gotcha."

 

Eve leans to kiss her smile.

 

"Eve?"

 

She pulls back, "yeah?"

 

"We need to brush our teeth."

 

"Yeah, agreed."