Disclaimer: Noir does not belong to me. This is a work of fanfiction and no commercial profit will be gained, yaddayadda.

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In Between

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They were sitting apart, unmoving, a table between them. A world. Mireille's eyes were blue circles of steel, gazing serenely out to sea. Her eyelids fluttered slowly down, a side of her lips turning up. Kirika's right eye, red as blood, tipped with black dark as the raven's wing, swivelled in its course, followed the expression, then rotated back.

They were watching the waves. Capped with white, foam rushed gently in and was dispersed on the smoothness of the beach sands.

Kirika's hand reached for the table, but not quite the table--the drink on it, a disposable cup affair. Two straws sticking out discordantly from the plastic cover. The hand which was Kirika's closed around the cup and brought it to her mouth; she drank. Five different ways, at first calculation, to poison the sharer of your drink, five different ways dissolved in the twist of mouth over straw and tongue around straw, undulating down the throat, cover for the vulnerable windpipe.

Light words were uttered between one wave and the next. Isn't the weather nice, she said, tipping her head back, blonde hair impeccably right in the sun.

Mmm, she answered, her voice crisper, appreciative. The fingers gripping the straw let it go, putting the cup back on the table that separated them, the slender digits hovering for a beat afterwards, curling back.

It had been three weeks but who knew where the time went in this part of the world, and money was not an object, but of course they should not look like they had too much. Pale lashes lifted, eyes gazing.

Question, answer; light on Kirika's face, light in her eyes, and yes, they would stay for a while longer would they not.

Mireille drank, then, and Kirika knew they had met in the middle.

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They were rooming at an old guesthouse. It was their twenty-first day and there was a sense that their lives were just beginning to settle. On this day, too, they returned in the evening with groceries and Mireille buttered their bread while Kirika made tea. The place was more cramped than they were used to, but plans to move were dated for two weeks in the future and it was for the best.

As night fell they lay in the huge four-poster bed, Mireille staring at the ceiling, one arm flung across her stomach, the other with fingers splayed and facing up on the white sheets. Kirika's face was turned in the same direction, right arm slightly knuckled against her hip, sidelong glance resting blinking on her partner. After a while Mireille shifted. The palm on the coverlet raised then lowered, curling loosely around a pale wrist, sliding into the warmth of a smaller palm. Kirika looked down at their linked hands and a smile wreathed her lips in wonder.

They lay like that as the hours ticked by, a faraway clock muffled by layers of wood panelling nevertheless reaching them with its mellow hum to mark the time. Occasionally a tenant would creak across the floor, or the quick scuttling of a little creature's claws would break the silence.

Kirika was content, but sleep seemed elusive. Finally she sat up, called Mireille's name.

Yes, came the murmur.

Kirika waited as the shadow that was Mireille in the dark approached, hair down and sweeping, silhouetted, till some pale strands rested against Kirika's shoulder and Mireille's head was next to hers just as it had been that day, that day when. She closed her eyes and was briefly swept away in that dream. A shudder rippled down her spine, ended at the spot where Mireille's hand had alighted.

Tipping her weight forward slightly, Kirika, half-wrapped in the black cocoon of memory, encircled Mireille's waist. The body was warm against her, warm and breathing and shivering a little, and she too grew warm, unbearably warm so that she pressed close and closer to make it stop. A strangled sound came from behind her--surprise? pain? protest?--but Kirika's fingers were already creeping beneath the white nightshirt, stroking along soft smooth skin.

Stinging pain; she barely registered it, but then the world was knocked out from under her feet and Kirika fell.

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Searching eyes stabbed her vision when next she came to. Understanding eyes--a throbbing in her head. She was on the floor beside the bed and Mireille had been worried. No, she started to say; no, a word hoping to reach out through force of will alone.

Not that way, was the reply, and with half a smile, Do you remember? We met in a construction site. You ran away from me then back in the house asked for help. I agreed to kill you when it was over and we went to Paris.

Tipping her chin up, moments behind putting her lips to hers, Mireille whispered, Don't forget eh?

So Kirika fought for consciousness as she found herself drawn into Mireille's mouth, fought for consciousness as they drew apart in confusion and shyly undid clasps and unclasped buttons, then forgot her battle to pause stunned in front of a Mireille who had her fist to her chest and her head bowed, hesitation written in every line of her form. When Kirika padded back to see her face she hid it turning aside, and Kirika called her name again and again till she would show her, till she was shown, and even then they just held each other while they tussled with themselves.

As the first cracks of dawn streamed through the shuttered windows, Kirika found Mireille's ear. But I love you, she said, I love you.

Between one ragged breath and the next, Mireille closed her eyes and opened herself. Kirika found herself in the slow kiss they shared, found it again as Mireille's hand burrowed into her and made her toes curl, as she did likewise and the pressure coiled, trembling, from her to her. And then she lost and found all in the triumph of a cry torn from both throats and belonging somewhere in between.

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Note: fignae was playing with two unrelated ideas in a fic that's partly an experiment in style. Please forgive her. She's hoping these ideas will live beyond this brief piece.