Between the Lines

Gunslinger Girl created by, registered, and copyrighted to Yu Aida, Media Works, and any other company and/or division associated with the creation and/or production of Gunslinger Girl. ADV hold the copyrights to the English version of Gunslinger Girl. This work of fiction is not intended for any commercial purposes but was created for the entertainment of the Author and Fans of Gunslinger Girl.

No copyright infringement was in any way intended.

Between the Lines written by Jino Turtlegod

M Rating. For mature readers only. Some scenes, themes, language, and situations are not suitable for younger readers. Reader discretion is advised.

Between the Lines

She woke up to the dull ache in her body – the pain made only tolerable by the dose of painkillers that had been injected into her. The throbbing in her right eye reminded her of the battle last night as she gingerly opened the door of the car and carefully stepped barefoot onto the cold pavement, each step sending a twinge of pain running up and down her abused body. She pulled the blanket tighter over her naked shoulders, distantly aware that she was only dressed in her skirt and wraps of bandages. But propriety was the least on her mind at the moment.

She had to find him, she had to tell him personally. She didn't know why, but she had this compulsion to seek him out and have him hear her words.

She found him by their van, staring moodily at nothing.



"I…" she faltered at the anger in his voice, like a dog who had been screamed at by its master. "I won!" she finished with a confused look on her face.

"You shouldn't be walking yet!" he said angrily as he glared at her. "Get back to the car!"

He couldn't tell her that the reason that he was so angry was due to all the pent up fear of losing her. He couldn't tell her how his guts were in a knot when they lost radio contact during the battle. But he chose to believe in her. As her partner he had to believe in her. He had nearly broken down when he found her bleeding body, blaming himself for the wounds that she had taken. It was one of those times that he wished he had told her that she was his everything.

"I'm fine!" she replied, a bit of frustration creeping into her voice. Why won't he listen?! "The medicine's working fine."

"Please listen!" she pleaded as tears began to pour from her undamaged eye. "I won! I killed Pinocchio! I'm sure of it!" she said like a child reporting to its parent that it did well in school. "It's thanks to the training!"

Hillshire's shock and speechlessness drove a dagger into her heart and more tears came. "Mister Hillshire?"

She wanted to hear his voice, to tell her that she did well. It may not be much. But it was the thing that she craved the most. Not the teddy bears, the shopping trips, or the occasional meal at a fancy restaurant. It was his praise.

"Won't you congratulate me?" her voice cracked, and she began crying. "I followed my orders."

"For you, everything for you," she wanted to say but found that she couldn't voice something that sounded like an accusation. So instead she pleaded once more, "I beat the enemy, won't you even--"

She was surprised when he drew her to him. Hillshire's arms went around her and hugged her tightly yet carefully, as he didn't want to hurt her and he was afraid that the wounds that he had carefully treated the night before would reopen. She could feel the warmth radiate from his body. She felt fearful, a bit hesitant at the close contact.

"Um… Mister Hillshire?"

And then she felt the man's body shaking, the irregular breathing, and the choked sobs. She could feel the wet tears as they dropped onto her cheeks.

"Don't cry Hillshire," she said as she embraced her handler, the previous hesitation fading like the morning mist. "I'm okay."

She couldn't remember who started it, but soon their lips were locked, tasting each other, drinking each other's souls. She pulled him tighter against her, ignoring the screams of her body as she pressed her bandaged wounds against him. All she wanted was to feel him, to meld his body with hers. She pushed him towards the van, one hand scrabbled for the door handle while the other kept Hillshire close to her. As soon as she had the door open she made him sit on the van's floor and climbed onto his lap. She gasped as she felt his hands on her bare waist. Her body felt as hot as molten lava as she laid her hands on his and slowly pulled them up her body –and then she stopped as if someone had dumped cold water on her flaming body. "Somebody's coming!" she hissed in warning.

"There you are," Jean said as he rounded the corner of the house, Rico his constant shadow. "We'll be leaving the rest to Ferro's team. Team Marco will be the security detail, all other Fratello are to head back."

"I see. We've already stowed our gear," Hillshire said as he gestured into the van's interior where Triela was checking that all the crates and weapon cases were secured. She was also cursing Hillshire's ability to switch from fiery passion to dead cold in an instant. She could still feel the red warmth on her face and shoulders.

"Triela, are you alright?" Rico asked as she peered into the van's rear window, scaring the distracted Triela. The men were talking about reports that needed to be signed so Triela didn't focus on them.

"Yeah, I guess my wounds still hurt. How about you? You also got shot."

"I'm okay. Jean said that they're just flesh wounds so they shouldn't hurt." Rico replied with her usual innocent smile.

"I see."

"You look red. Are you sure you're ok?"

"Rico! We're leaving."

Both cyborgs looked over to where the handlers were and then like a puppy called by its master Rico hurried over to Jean's side. But before she turned the corner, Rico looked back at Triela and placed her forefinger vertically against her lips and gave the older girl a wink.

"Triela, are you ok?" Hillshire asked as he revved up the van's engine.

"Ah, yes," Triela replied as she moved to the front passenger seat, now wearing Hillshire's coat.

They drove on in silence, no one had the courage to say what was in their hearts for both knew that theirs was a fragile bond. Illusory as it is illicit. Feelings that may not be true, a love that may have been born of confusion, and emotional and psychological manipulation. And if it was true, they couldn't act on it due to their relationship as guardian and ward, mentor and student, Handler and Cyborg. Furtive touches, hidden kisses. The Agency kept a close watch on the relationship between Handler and Cyborg due to the case of Elsa de Sica. And though there were no precedence, Triela didn't want to know how the Agency will handle a Fratello that crossed the line.

"Triela, you're crying," Hillshire said as he handed her a handkerchief.

She took the handkerchief with one hand while she held on to his hand with the other.

02 April 2008