It wasn't supposed to be this way.

The rain was appropriate enough, but the metallic burning in her hand, the fading heat of blood that was not her own running down her back, the cold hardness taking over her chest was not right. Not how Mireille planned.

There was no plan anymore. There was blood (not her own) on her face. Corpses littering the ground. Glass shards from her broken windows in the soles of her boots.

(Think, Mireille. Could they trace it back?)

No, she hadn't left anything alive enough behind.

She hadn't left anything behind, and the body draped across her shoulder's was growing heavier, and she didn't know anymore whether to wish it would grown lighter.

She couldn't be found this way. The lungs pressing against here were collapsing from the bullet she had lodged there, and she couldn't be found with the matching weapon. She couldn't carry both.

Gun on the ground then, kicked under a bush. She would come back for it, but she couldn't carry them both.

Her feet were still carrying her, and she didn't know where. She needed a plan.

(Kirika is dying on top of you.)

She needed a plan.

"A hospital." The semblances of reason were coming back to her. "You found her bleeding in the graveyard, you don't know how, and brought her here."

Then her reason was dissipating again because Mireille did know how.

She knew how Kirika's body had crumbled as the bullet hit her. She how her hands had been shaking under the gun. And Mireille knew that what was happening now was impossible. Assassins don't shoot someone point blanc, and then carry them to a hospital.

Assassins don't stand in blank shock as they hear the gun shot, and they never need to look down through the smoke rising from their hands to see it is their own finger on the trigger. They certainly never run over to the target, and never take her hand as they search for that last trace of fading light.

That's why Mireille wasn't sure she was still herself, as she touched the weak hand that grasped her back and thought, "There's still hope."

There's still hope in the glass and plastic corridors of the hospital, but not for her.

There still fading hope in the fading light that's still waning under the painful glare of the florescent hospital room.

Why do they make the lights so bright, Mireille wondered.

She could handle the frantic voices drifting out of the room they wouldn't let her in, and she could handle the pink stains in the sink where the nurse had made her wash, but the thought that it was tears rather than light burning her eyes would have been too much.

"She's not going to make it," the nurse murmured, as the words peered down at Mireille from twin cliffs of impossibility.

"When you're ready we need to talk about what happened," the police inspector said; stern words floating all around as she nodded, and they disappeared into blinding white noise around her.

She needed to find her gun. She needed to call Pauline, and get her paperwork together, and smile and answer the questions they would ask her. She needed to find Soldat's and kill every last one of them, and grind their bodies into the dust of the Earth, and send their screams as her last prayers to heaven.

But first she needed to find her gun.

Cool water against her face kept her focused in the present. Wet towels against her eyes because she thought might keep the swelling away.

It didn't work so she stuck her head under the faucet, and let the water flow as strong and ice cold as it could, until her entire face was numb and clean, and she couldn't feel anything.

It makes the walk home easier. The cold makes the sight of her gun when she finds it behind a bush a few blocks from the graveyard less shocking. The numbness is the only thing that makes the sight of Kirika's shorts in her laundry as she tosses her bloody top over it bearable.

And it is bearable. She just has to be smart about this.

(Don't think about the promise. Don't think about your parents.)

There's a million other things she can't think about. She can't think about loyalty. She can't think about what lie she will tell the police officer tomorrow. She can't think about Kirika's sketch book tucked in the corner of the book case, or her tooth brush resting next to Mireille's own.

She has to be smart about this. And so she spends the evening doing what has to be done.

Turning on the shower and twisting the knob until the water's as cold as it can be, and she stands there under it until even the shaking and chattering has stopped. Freezing makes the blood constrict, and then thoughts stop too.

Standing in front of the broken window, blue and pale, and still as a corpse , and she doesn't know what to think, or what to do, because her parents are gone, and Kirika is almost gone, and Mireille thinks that maybe she herself has left too.

Soldats is still there, though, and she found her gun.

Very soon Mireille would have to make a decision. The cell phone was in her purse, and the gun was on the table, and Soldats was alive, but Kirika wasn't dead yet either. Very soon she would have dress, and gather herself together, and walk back into the night.

Tomorrow the sun will rise, and the tears or blood will warm her skin.

Until then she has to trust in the cold to hold her together.