Notes and Disclaimers: The characters of Mirielle and Kirika, are the property of Bee Train, Victor Entertainment, Tsukimura Ryoe and an amazingly long list of other people and corporations, not me. All original characters are from cheesy film noir movies, penny dreadfuls and my imagination. I came up with the plot, but I didn’t work very hard at it, I’ll admit.
This story will disappoint anyone looking for hot lesbian sex. And probably alot of other people, too. It’s appallingly not-hentai-at-all-whatsoever. Some violence, of course, but duh, the protagonists are assassins, so its to be expected.
If you enjoy this story, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know. If you didn’t, then don’t. :-)
WSF also supports the Fanfic Revolution, because fanfic doesn’t have to suck.
“How do you know they were Soldats?”
The setting sun’s brilliance set the river’s surface on fire. Mirielle and Kirika watched a few boats pass; the low moan of a boat whistle floated mournfully across the water.
Kirika shifted, then turned to face the other woman, one hand lifting to pull the hair back from her face. Smiling bitterly she responded with, “Their suits all matched.”
Mirielle looked past her partner, her expression less than pleased. “So…Soldats is back.” She turned back to the river. The sun gilded the top floors of the buildings around them, the rest settling into cool, blue shadow. She turned away from the water and, putting one hand on her hip, spoke slowly. “No, I won’t play this game,” Mirielle said firmly.
Kirika spoke solemnly. “If Soldats is back, they will come for us, and quickly.”
Mirielle shook her head again. “They wouldn’t dare.”
Kirika shot a hard look at the older woman. “They would, though. They would dare anything…to bring back Noir.” And if not to bring them back, the unspoken subtext went on, then to destroy Noir and rebuild it once again in their own image.
Mirielle watched Kirika warily. The younger woman efficiently rendered her gun into its component parts, then returned it to its original form in a shorter time than it would have taken many people to simply reload. Mirielle both envied and pitied the younger woman’s skill. She, at least, remembered her own parents, bitter though the memory was; Kirika had nothing, few memories at all – only those mysterious skills she now employed for profit. Mirielle refused to think about the memories that Kirika *did* have; of their time together, their friendship, despite, or perhaps because of, the difficulty of their situation… of their war against Soldats.
This was the sore point between them at the moment. Mirielle could not believe that Soldats had regrouped so efficiently, so effectively and so insanely. Surely the men and women who ruled Soldats would have better things to do than to fight a war they had already lost once? She would simply not accept that they were a threat once again. Kirika had disagreed strongly – almost violently. She was sure that the threat *was* real…and greater than it had been in the past. The tension between them was moving past disagreement and building into something ugly and septic.
Kirika never looked up, her bangs casting her eyes into shadow as she replaced her gun in its holster. She laid the weapon on the bed beside her, catching Mirielle’s gaze at last.
The two women locked eyes for a moment, then the blonde stood and walked away, seating herself in the chair in front of her computer with feigned disinterest.
“What?” Kirika asked peevishly.
“What, what?” Mirielle pretended not to understand. It was pointless, she knew. Since the moment they had met, there seemed to be a wordless communication between them. She knew what Kirika wanted, and she knew that she wasn’t ready to give it to her.
“Noir…” Kirika’s voice was soft as it ever had been. Although she had grown in the past several years, she still had much of the waif about her. She looked nothing like her eighteen years. Her body was still small and slim for her age, something that had been useful on many of their recent projects. Few men noticed the women around them – even less, the girls.
Mirielle let these thoughts move her away from the point of contention that lay between her and her partner. They were doing well these days, jobs were coming in steadily – they offered chances to travel, good pay and other, less tangible benefits. Mirielle’s fingers played over the grip of her gun, which lay next to the mouse pad on the pool table. She heard Kirika shift her weight, then stand up from where she sat, but she never heard the steps it would have taken the girl to reach her, the gun pulled from its holster, the arm being brought up to aim…
Mirielle spun in her chair, leveling her gun at Kirika’s head, a split second too late. Kirika’s gun barrel lifted just a bit and the girl’s soft voice said, “Bang.”
Mirielle lowered her own gun gradually, the adrenaline slow to fade from her body. Breathing heavily, she laughed, pretending that it was all a joke, to cover the fact that her hand was shaking. It didn’t mean anything at all, that this girl was orders above her as an assassin.
Kirika’s gun didn’t move.
“They’re coming,” the younger woman said with finality. “Soldats is coming. Noir must be there to meet them.”
“No!” Mirielle snapped. She pushed herself out of the chair, causing two pool balls to click lightly against each other. Kirika’s eyes never shifted from Mirielle’s face.
Mirielle steadfastly refused to believe in this thing. They had defeated Soldats – they were done with this game. “No. You promised. We made a promise that Noir was gone – forever.” Mirielle’s voice was wounded – more wounded that she would have expected. It had been good recently, hadn’t it? Her life *had* been good. Steady work, good pay, just enough challenges to be interesting…they had left that past behind them, hadn’t they?
“I am Noir.” Kirika’s voice was filled with nearly two decades of sadness.
Mirielle grabbed the younger woman’s shoulders, heedless of the gun pressing into her chest. “What are you saying? Don’t you remember what we promised – what you promised?” She shook Kirika harshly with each word. “You are Yuumura Kirika, not Noir. You’re not Noir, I’m not Noir – there is no Noir!”
Kirika pulled away from Mirielle’s grip harshly and retreated three steps. Her eyes were cold as she spoke. Not emotionless, as she had been when they met – cold and calculating. Her soft voice made Mirielle shiver. “I am Noir. I have to be.” Kirika turned away, reholstered her gun, and grabbed a jacket from a chair. Before Mirielle could respond, before she could move to stop the younger woman, Kirika was out the front door. Mirielle took a single step forward, her arm outstretched, then let it drop, her voice almost inaudible as she said, “Kirika.”
The graveyard was a surprisingly delightful place to sit. The sun shone on the bare legs of the two lovers who had laid a picnic out beneath the cenotaph. The grass was the green of new growth and the smell of spring filled the air.
Kirika’s nostrils widened as the breeze brought another smell – gunpowder. She hadn’t heard the shot, but the traffic was loud in this section. People, radios, cars, trucks – she couldn’t hear past them to the footsteps that were surely approaching. She stood quickly, her back pressed against the grave marker. One hand casually brushed the lingering strands of grass from her pants, the other, equally as casually, pulled her gun from her jacket.
The two young lovers looked up in surprise as her shadow loomed over them.
“Run,” Kirika said calmly, keeping her hand behind her. There was no need to terrorize them. “Run or you will die.” There was no need, but it was faster. They were gone before she heard the first set of footsteps.
Once again pressed against the gravestone, Kirika could hear the staccato rhythm of running, pausing, and running again. The first gunshot was more of a pressure than a sound. This was, after all, a public place.
Kirika lifted herself as the footsteps paused, and waited. At the first sign of movement her gun went off twice. She could hear muffled grunts and soft noises as bodies went down.
There were three more. She could see them confer for a moment, then split up. Kirika’s smile was hard, realizing immediately what they intended. Slipping back to the abandoned picnic site, she scooped up two apples from the basket.
One apple she sent spinning into the nearby trees, taking no more than a second or two to spot the assassin who lifted a gun to shoot it. Another second and there were only two more opponents. She stood still, waiting for the footsteps to stop, then rolled the other apple quickly along the ground. Pointing her gun behind her, Kirika took out the fourth would-be assassin, then simply walked over and stood above the last who had, unaccountably, slipped on an apple.
“Who are you?” she asked, knowing the answer.
The man did not speak – he faced his death with resignation. She was not impressed. She kicked his gun from his grasp and watched him.
“Tell them,” she paused for a moment, “tell them that *I* am Noir.” Two bullets pierced his knees. “Tell them that I am waiting for them.”
She turned to leave, knowing that when the young lovers finally brought the police to the cemetery, all they would find would be a few spent shells, bloodstained grass and two ruined apples.
“Where is she?” Mirielle muttered, clicking the computer keys too fast, forcing herself to backspace and retype. Her information network was hopeless – someone like Kirika simply fell through cracks in the system. No one noticed her when she was around…no one noticed when she was gone. Kirika had been missing for days and this was Mirielle’s last hope. She slammed her palm onto the keyboard in frustration. This was useless…unless…
With hesitation, Mirielle opened a new file, and typed a few words. She held her hand over the mouse, not wanting to send this message, not knowing how else to find Kirika. She took a breath and clicked “send.” Four words appeared on the screen – pink neon on a black background. Words she thought she’d never have to see again. Words she found made her shudder with something less like anticipation than disgust.
Starting in business
She sighed heavily. This was exactly the wrong way to go about this. This was exactly what Kirika had wanted to avoid by leaving. She knew, she really did, that what Kirika had done was to protect her. It was the wrong thing to do, she was sure. And now this was the only way she could think of – the only way to draw them to her and to lead her to Kirika.
Mirielle rose and went into the kitchen to heat some water. The apartment was quiet, soft street noises coming through the open window, the occasional car or truck, people’s voices. Mirielle froze.
Men’s voices murmuring “Roger.”
Her computer beeped, signaling an incoming message at the same time the bullet crashed into the wall. Mirielle threw herself onto the ground and listened for footsteps running up the stairs, along the hall. But there was nothing except the soft beep of another message, and the quiet noises of the street. No screams, no steps – no more bullets.
Mirielle pulled her gun from its holster and crawled along the floor, still straining her ears for anything unusual. Back against the wall, she ventured a quick look out of the window. A second look and she dropped her gun to her side.
Standing openly in the window, Mirielle looked out onto a quiet city street. A child and her dog passed by, laughing. Two old women stood on the corner complaining. There were no gunmen to be seen. She scanned the windows across the mews – nothing. Not a flash, not a movement. She hissed in annoyance.
As she turned away, Mirielle caught a glimpse of white turning a corner. Her heart jumped once, then she spun and ran out of the apartment. She took the steps three at a time and was out the front door, almost not remembering to hide the gun, almost not caring. Mirielle ran down the street, taking the corner blindly, not bothered that she might be running into a trap; sure that she had seen Kirika, sure that the girl had been the reason the street was so quiet once again. If she could just find her – talk to her…
Another block, another corner and Mirielle stood, defeated. She panted in annoyance; her lungs were burning, her heart pounding and a sickening feeling of inevitability was spreading through her limbs. It had been too slick. Kirika wouldn’t have been visible – not if she didn’t want to be seen.
As fast as she could, the blonde forced herself to return the way she had come, to climb the stairs, to enter the apartment and to stare, angry and overwhelmed, at the empty space where the computer had been on the pool table. A scrap of paper fluttered in the light breeze and Mirielle snatched it up in frustration, sure she knew what it would say. A muttered imprecation was followed by the cathartic act of ripping the paper in half, then crumpling it and throwing it into the trash.
Mirielle wasn’t sure which was worse – knowing that Soldats was out to get them, or knowing that Kirika was three steps ahead of her already.
Kirika could hear noises through the thin hotel walls. A slow, rumbling voice, a girlish giggle, clinking ice, movement across creaking floors. A prostitute with her client – or a meeting of illicit lovers. Not that they were that different, ultimately.
She spent a few minutes breaking through the encryption that Mirielle had set up, and apologized silently to the other woman for being so duplicitous. Kirika felt a momentary pang of conscience for the betrayal – Mirielle had been especially kind to her, more kind than she had ever deserved. The older woman had offered her a place to live, a partnership, support in her efforts to discover their shared history – even friendship. And Kirika, wretch that she was, had repaid those kindnesses…with lies. Her entire life was filled with lies, from the fiction of her early life to the false name she had used to rent this room. To the bypasses she had built into this laptop when Mirielle hadn’t been at home, so that she could do exactly what she was now doing – break into Noir’s email.
It was better this way, that Mirielle be angry at her for this betrayal, rather than the many others she knew nothing about. A beep broke into her thoughts and Kirika turned her attention to the laptop.
It was 3 hours since Mirielle had sent that message and there were 30 responses. They were so eager they were practically tripping over themselves to get at either one of them. Kirika calmly read through and deleted all but three of the messages, after running tracers on them. The jobs were too easy, too obviously easy – traps within traps. Kirika made a rude noise. Soldats were, after all, no more than a bunch of silly people playing at conspiracy games. She’d had enough of them. She typed a quick reply and sent it three times. Let them fall over themselves literally – maybe they’d clear the playing field for her.
After a moment’s thought, Kirika typed one last email and sent it. She shut down the laptop and flattened it out on the floor. Wrapping her gun in a towel, she brought it down onto the keyboard as hard as she could, then again, and again. When the entire machine was rendered into nothing more than shards of glass and components – each carefully scrutinized for possibility of reconstruction, Kirika split the refuse into three small piles, loaded them into three bags and left the room. She would get rid of the bags on her way.
The café was certainly a pleasant place to pass an afternoon. The sky, although cloud-filled and grey, did not appear to threaten rain. Mirielle lifted her face to the warm wind and inhaled deeply, then sipped at her wine and watched the dull shine of the sun against the café windows.
The waiter approached with a slight leer. “The young lady at the corner table asked me to bring you this.” His voice was slightly too loud and his face failed to hide what he thought of women buying each other drinks. Mirielle did not look up past the brim of her hat as he placed the gaudy, umbrella-laden drink on the table. As he withdrew his hand, she intercepted it quickly. She slipped her fingers lightly into a cavity, then another and heard him gasp as the hand lost all sensation.
“Which woman?” Mirielle asked in a low voice. “Do not point.”
“S-she’s in the corner,” the waiter stuttered, more in surprise than discomfort. “The one with red hair.”
Mirielle lifted her head at last and gave him a radiant smile. “Thank you,” she said in a normal tone of voice, as she slipped him a tip quite visibly.
He took a step backwards, then turned quickly away from the blonde, retreating into the café’s safe interior.
Mirielle spent a moment or two sipping at the awful concoction before she turned her head to thank her benefactor. She was a little taken aback when the chair was not empty, and Kirika was not gone…because the occupant was not Kirika. She had expected to find the girl – well, expected to *not* find her, to assume that the drink was a no more than a message that said ‘I am here, I am watching over you.’
Instead, a redhead was most definitely sitting at the corner table, her eyes shaded by sunglasses. She gave Mirielle a small fingertip wave and the blonde, almost reflexively, waved back. She had an odd disconnected sense, as if she was two separate people, playing out the same scenario simultaneously, with two potential endings. Was this woman a threat? Did she know who Mirielle was? Or was this an oh-so-common pickup attempt? Mirielle couldn’t be sure. The drink left a strange taste in her mouth – the flavor of cheap, oversweet liquor.
Briefly, Mirielle wondered why she was here – why she had come in response to an email that had been sent through too many channels to have been private.
She scanned the crowd once more, seeking one face among many, but failed to find it. She glanced at the redhead once more and made her decision to follow the script that had been set for her and see where the action led. In any case, Kirika was not on the stage; not obviously so, anyway. Mirielle felt a giddy sense of freedom and wondered if Kirika was her guardian angel, or had been weighing her down all this time. What if she could be free, now that the girl was gone?
She picked up her drink and carried it over to the corner table. Smiling politely, she asked if she could join the redhead, who graciously acquiesced.
Mirielle was surprised to note that beneath her makeup, the woman was not much older than she.
“My name is Veronika,” the redhead’s voice was low, silky, with a slight Russian accent to her French.
Mirielle smiled. “Hello Veronika, my name is Catherine.”
“A beautiful name,” Veronika purred. Mirielle sipped at her drink to disguise her disappointment. A pickup then. Ah well, she’d play the scene out, then exit the stage gracefully.
“Catherine,” Veronika said, her accent catching at all the consonants in Mirielle’s fictitious name, “a beautiful young woman like yourself should be careful of accepting drinks from strangers.”
Mirielle shrugged, affecting an unconcerned manner. “A drink never hurt anyone.”
Veronika’s red lips parted in a not very pretty smile. “No?”
Mirielle pulled the glass away from her mouth with a jerk and stared at the woman.
Veronika laughed quietly. “What do you think I mean to do, little kitten? Poison your milk?”
Mirielle looked once again at the redhead that sat across the table from her. She had the sensation of being even more disconnected from reality than she had a moment ago. An idea moved slowly through her brain, then faded before it could reach the surface. She moved her mouth but no words came.
Veronika stretched out a carefully manicured hand and took Mirielle’s chin in a soft, caressing grasp. “It looks like my little kitten has had too much to drink, doesn’t it?”
Inside her head, Mirielle wanted to protest, but the words faded before they left her mouth, and her limbs seemed too heavy to move. Mirielle was unable to resist as Veronika lifted her to her feet and led her out of the café. Her arms seemed far away from where she was and her legs only moderately attached to her body.
“Come, my little kitten,” Veronika purred, “come with me and I will give you a warm place in the sun.” Mirielle could feel herself falling into blackness as Veronika’s low voice spoke into her ear.