Plot: Before she leaves Snake for the last time, EVA reflects on the night before and what's to come. One-shot ficlet. R&R. Rated for some sexual stuff.

Disclaimer: Konami tells me that I own nothing, unfortunately. If I did, I'd be super-rich and quite obviously, I'm not.

"Still Hoping"

They say no one sleeps more soundly than the innocent.

Perhaps that explains why I woke so ridiculously early that morning, and you were still blissfully asleep, warming the back of my neck with that snoring; infuriating and endearing at the same time.

It summed you up entirely.

I didn't have the luxury of fairytale cliché; to wake up and for a moment forget where I was and what I was expected to do. No. My sleep had been tormented… my dreams full of monsters. Yet, for the briefest of periods, I endeavoured to stay in that unconscious embrace. The base of my back ached from sleeping on that floor… I suppose you'd done it many times before. Me, I'm a creature of finer tastes. Of course, the vigour of the previous night's exploits had not helped the matter. You still smelled of smoke and sweat. I loved it.

When I slid from that possessive grip of yours, you didn't move. Not an inch. So completely at peace, it made me grimace. I can't remember now how silent I was, if I made any noise as I began to weave the evidence and explanation of my departure. Perhaps I did. Perhaps part of me wanted you to wake up, to find me there in the process of leaving… to convince me to stay.

I couldn't have stayed. Not to betray you another day.

You stirred once. Rolled over on your side with an animal grunt. I laughed. We laughed a lot that night. You laughed to see me struggle with that damn belt that carried your entire world. I laughed at feeling those expert fingers tremble at the clasp of my bra. You laughed when I said I wasn't a screamer…

You said nothing when I screamed your name so loud into the night that it still rings in my ears.

Your tentative fingers owned me then. Mastered me. I almost cried when that mutual delirium sent us both tumbling over the edge. It was so ludicrously refreshing not to have to fake it. A woman can never be thankful enough for moments like that. When she feels like a woman. The Boss knew it too.

In my line of work, everything was faked … I'd made a life of it. Thrilling deceit. I was a virtuoso. I enjoyed it. Until that moment when I knew you'd fallen for me. It was the moment I'd waited for, as a professional, the moment when you gave me leeway to start manipulating you. That was the moment I fell for you too.

Uh oh…

From the moment the falseness of my flirting became an uncontrollable reality, I'd dreaded leaving you. I was afraid of leaving part of me behind. You stripped me down and bore me naked. Metaphorically and literally. You released me from that pain of being someone else. Naked before you, I was me. I was myself. And I was yours. I loved you. But what was worse, I respected you.

In the game that we played, respect was so much more important. You taught me that. You and The Boss. Whether I loved you because I respected you, or respected you because I loved you made no difference. It made no difference to The Boss either.

I hope that she had the same experience. To, for once, writhe so helplessly beneath someone she adored. To, for one night, forget she was a soldier and lose all self control. To give her body to someone, as a woman, not as a politicians tool.

I hope you remember us both. Otherwise, we die. History remembers its' countries heroes. History will remember you. The ninth circle of Hell is reserved for traitors. I'd go happily if you were to make me a promise. That you'd remember these women that loved you once. Who betrayed you to fulfil their duties. Who loved you no less for having done it.

Godamnit. I choked on a sob that had crept up in my throat unchecked. You stirred again. Your image was blurred behind the veil of unshed tears. I swallowed it, controlled it, bit my lip for being so negligent. The amber sunrise was already creeping along the length of your torso, and yet I stood there, holding that gun at your head. Who was I kidding? I couldn't do it. I'd known that for days. I knew I wouldn't ever see you again, but I didn't want to know that I couldn't. A good spy never closes all her options, right?

So I left. Bathed in your scent, the bruises of your fingertips still stinging my thighs. I left. And as soon as my hair whipped high around me, I hoped the freshness of that burning wind would blow your memory from my mind.

I'm still hoping…