Flawless Imperfection

Noir fanfiction by LeeT911

She stands naked before the mirror with the sound of running water behind her. The reflection is blurred, swallowed by condensation from her recent shower. Her fingers however, clear wet streaks, and her features slowly become recognizable. Glossy blonde hair and an elegant neck, well-defined chin and an aristocratic nose, piercing blue eyes and perfect moist lips. She knows she's beautiful. Her beauty is cultivated, practiced. She wears it like a weapon.

She is remarkable, for all the wrong reasons. People remember her, her figure, the glint of sunlight on her hair, the click of heels against the pavement. They do not remember the cold steel of the gun, the remorseless pits of her eyes, and the stark brutality of murder. No one lives to remember her other half. Except for one person.

Slowly, she dries off and slips into the loose shirt she wears to sleep. The water is shut off, and the silence lasts only a moment before it is replaced by the hum of the hairdryer. She goes through her routine without thinking, brushing out her long hair, gazing into the mirror and looking for imperfections. She doesn't need to be flawless anymore, but she still wants to be.

The blonde emerges from the shower to find her partner reading in bed. Kirika sits cross-legged by the light, a thick book open her lap. The Asian girl is beautiful too, in her own way. She looks soft, demure, innocent, her small frame contained in a t-shirt and a pair of shorts. Her true nature, of course, is just as deadly. She too can conjure up the impassive mien of casual violence.

It's their little secret though, the one thing they never talk about, not even to each other. It's not that important anymore. Besides, that's the past, and it's always easier to look at the surface, at the exterior of shy smiles and lingering copper eyes. It's easier to pretend they're alone and that there's nothing beyond the delicate fingers and unruly dark hair, or the gentle curves and rich blonde locks. And she wonders sometimes, if things would be the same without the beauty. She thinks they would. For Kirika, it's not about the beauty. It's nice to have though; it feels nice.

Mireille climbs into bed, pulling the sheets up to her chin and resting a hand on her partner's back. She likes the feel of the warmth beneath her palm, the strength of the muscles there, the rhythmic motions of breathing.

"You study too much."

"I have an exam next week." But she puts the book away anyhow, sliding it onto the floor and reaching for light. "Goodnight Mireille."


In the darkness though, the shyness falls away, and they embrace fiercely, each breathing in the scent of the other. The Japanese girl wraps herself around the warm body, tucking her head into a shoulder and trailing lazy hands down the length of Mireille. For her part, the blonde strokes the tangled dark curls of her partner, pushing them aside so she can kiss the forehead gently.

"I love you," she whispers, for it's only in the dark that she allows herself those words.

Kirika looks away of course. She always does, even though they can't see each other. She looks away and closes her eyes, tenses her body as if rejecting the premise. It's not Mireille that she doubts.

The blonde never lets go though, and when the night eventually wins out, they're still nestled against each other.

Morning finds Mireille first, tickling her eyes open just after eight. The sky however, is overcast and grey, already weeping with the promise of rain. She inhales the humid air and the warmth wrapped tightly around her arm. She thinks of waking her partner, perhaps with a kiss, but it's the weekend after all, and the poor girl needs her rest. So instead they lie quietly, one asleep and the other aware, communing in silence.

Her mind wanders here and there, dreaming of breakfast and tea and sunlight playing in tousled black hair. On a whim, she runs her hand through the sleep-matted strands, delighting in the slumbering smile that greets her. She thinks of picnics on bright days and dancing in the rain on the gloomy ones. She remembers standing on the roof together, watching the water drip down Kirika's chin. She runs her knuckles along a slim neck and watches the flutter of eyelids. "Good morning."

"It's Saturday," the Asian girl intones upon waking, as if that fact alone were enough to make the day wonderful.

"I know. Let me make you breakfast."

Stretch. Yawn. "French toast?" Smile.

"Whatever you like."

She gives another innocent little smile and looks away, drawing a gentle laugh from the blonde.

Mireille leans over and kisses her nose, before turning to climb out of bed. She's halfway up when slim arms grab her from behind and sit her down on the mattress. There's one arm across her waist, another across her shoulders, and warm breath trailing down her neck.

"Why are you so nice me, Mireille?"

She has a whirlwind of reactions but none of them can be voiced. She has lots of bits and pieces, parts that might make a coherent whole, but she's never stopped to think about them long enough. All this time, it's been easier just to live and feel instead of thinking. So she picks the easy answer, the one that always works.

"You're beautiful."

Kirika looks away again. "Not as beautiful as you."

The blonde pauses then, because she doesn't know why that should matter. She knows only that Kirika is here, in their bed, and that she's slender and warm and strong and timid and beautiful.

"I love you."

It's supposed to explain everything but it doesn't. It just makes Kirika uncertain and vulnerable, because although they both know the words, neither of them can articulate their meaning.

"I love you too," the dark-haired girl echoes, the words shaky and awkward on her lips. She's never said them before, not out loud, and Mireille's never dared in the bright of day, but they both know it's not the words themselves that are important. It's the other things, the things that don't need words, action, emotion, intuition, perfection.

So they leave the words behind, and concentrate on beauty instead, because that's the one thing they both understand. Beauty is shallow, illiterate, ephemeral. They know they both possess it. True beauty, however, is something they see only in the other, because they both believe it to be stronger, deeper, and more perfect than either of them can be alone. When they kiss, they both feel guilty since they think they don't deserve it, but the truth is that beauty is found in the flaws and that love is never perfect.

In the end though, it doesn't matter what they think, because the kiss is worth more than all the thoughts and the words. For Mireille, the world comes down to the warm weight resting on her, the soft lips crushed against hers, and the wandering hands drifting across her body. In this one flawless moment, she is complete, and beauty is irrelevant.