We stumble through the doorway, leaning heavily on each other. Our wounds need re-bandaging, but neither of us has the strength. The room is cold, and drafty from the broken windows. The office chairs are overturned, and bullet-holes are scattered everywhere; the walls, the floor, Mireille's pool table. But not the bed, I notice in grateful amusement.
And the bed, is our current goal. A few staggering steps, and we're there. By unspoken, mutual consent, we flop down on it, still holding each other. Yes…this was it. A few days ago, I'd considered the Mansion my home, where I belonged; but I realize I was wrong. This is where I belong. Here, in this bed, with her, and now, it seems, in her arms.
"Mireille-" I begin, my breath a little labored. She frowns slightly; her eyes are already closed, and she pulls me closer a tiny bit.
"Shh. Sleep," she commands gently. "Tomorrow…tomorrow we'll talk."
"Yes," I breath, closing my own eyes and accepting her soft warmth, and the gentle pull of slumber's tide.
It took a few weeks for us to heal, and even then we weren't quite up to our best. Today Mireille went shopping. Without me. She'd insisted that as the more injured of us, I needed to stay home and rest. I was tired of rest, but the concern and stubbornness in her cerulean eyes erased any kind of resistance I might've put up.
She came home with two bags of groceries, and went about making dinner, humming easily to herself, smiling whenever she looked at me. Again I felt a sharp jab of guilt, thinking of the way I killed her family, so long ago, but I shake it off. Once I'd opened my mouth to apologize to her, only to realize that she'd already forgiven me. Asking for it then would've been redundant, so I didn't.
Dinner passed with our usual quiet. And then I noticed how tired she really was. "Go to bed," I told her. Her mouth opened in the little 'o' shape it did when she was surprised. I liked that expression on her. When she seemed about to protest, I shook my head and looked at her firmly.
"You wore yourself out today. Go to bed, I'll take care of the dishes."
She knew that it was useless to argue with me, since I always won, or did what I wanted anyway, so she didn't this time. I think that was a testament to how tired she really was; normally she'd argue just for the sake of arguing. I think she enjoyed arguing.
"All right," was all she said and went to change into her pajamas, which consisted of a large button-shirt and underwear. I simply watched her for a moment, feeling an odd, but pleasant warmth in my chest as I did so.
Then I took care of the dishes, and did a little more tidying up. There wasn't too much to do, and I quickly found myself with nothing to entertain myself. We had no TV, and even if we had, I wouldn't have wanted to disturb Mireille. I'd read all the books we'd had, and the internet was a no because we hadn't gotten around to replacing Mireille's laptop yet.
"Kirika…" Mireille solved my dilemma by sitting up a bit and holding her arms open. Without hesitation I climbed in beside her, curling up easily in her embrace. She clapped around me, turning the lights off, and snuggled into her pillow, holding me as if I were her own life-size teddy-bear.
Strange…we had never been much for physical contact before. But now it seemed as if we couldn't sleep without it. Mireille drifted off soon, but I wasn't very sleepy yet, so I lay there and wondered.
Wondered about myself, about my feelings. More specifically, my feelings for Mireille. Did I love her? The question was easy to answer. Yes, I loved her. Perhaps a better question was, how did I love her?
Was she a sister to me? The family I'd never really had? Did I love her like a best friend, someone I could trust to be there for me, and to know when to give me space. Or did I love her more than that?
Which only brought to mind more questions. If I did love her more than mere friendship, what did I want of it? Would I be content with the simple cuddling and occasional touches on the arm I received now? Would I want to kiss, hold hands on walks? To make love?
To be honest I couldn't quite imagine that last idea. I'd never really thought about sex before. Yes, I am a teenager, but my life wasn't quite normal before, was it?
And then I was suddenly wondering what Mirielle would say if I admitted my love for her. Would she be repulsed, or encouraging? Or perhaps just confused. I seemed to confuse her a lot, which was fine, because then I could watch her amusing, puzzled frowns.
Stop it, I told myself. You don't even know if you do like her that way. And if you can't tell how you feel, you have no business trying to second-guess how she feels.
Finally I closed my eyes and decided to be content. Content with the knowledge that I loved her, even if I didn't quite know how, and content with the comfortable feel of sleeping in her arms at night.
I smiled and snuggled a bit closer. Yes…I hadn't been this content in quite a long time.