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Noir. I’ve almost come to hate the word, hate what it’s done to me, to us. I check outside the window again, but don’t see any sign we’re being watched. I sigh and go back to cleaning my gun. Is it too much to ask, to just be able to live as Kirika? I know it’s wrong, but I want this to be Uncle’s problem, not mine.
“Sorry to be so selfish.” I mutter an apology to him under my breath.
I hear a car door slam, and jump up to the window and survey the street as Mireille emerges from Anton’s sporty car. Still no sign we’re being followed. Maybe my prayers will be answered.
Anton’s laughter drifts upward and I can’t help but smile as it seems to break the tension in the air. I hear them climbing the stairs, and go hide my gun. I sit down at the computer and turn it on, pretending to work.
“Well top of the evening to you, little bit!” Anton bellows cheerily as they come through the door. I stand up and open my arms, knowing that I’m about to be swallowed up.
“What do you say we all go out to dinner? My treat!” he squashes me happily into his chest.
“No!” I cry out, alarmed at the thought of going out again.
“Hey there, what’s the matter?” he lets go of me and pats my head.
“Um, nothing.” I look down at the floor, trying to think of what to say.
“Kirika, what’s wrong?” Mireille frowns as she comes out of the bathroom. “Do you not feel well?”
“My…my stomach.” I hold my stomach for emphasis. “It’s upset.”
Anton makes a clucking sound. “She’s got a sensitive little tummy, that one.”
Mireille says nothing, and puts her hands on her hips, staring at me. Then she turns back towards Anton.
“Another night then. I’ll walk you to the door.” She motions to him and they walk away. I slump back down into the computer chair, ashamed at my actions. I’ve never felt fear like this before. What is wrong with me?
I hear her come back into the room, and she comes to me quietly, putting her hand on my shoulder.
“It’s not your stomach.”
“Tell me.” Her hands are in my hair, and I feel my head roll back at her touch. I want to relax, but I can’t.
“We were followed today. In the park.”
Her hands drop to my shoulders, gripping them.
“I don’t know who.” I answer her silent question. “And they didn’t follow me home.”
“I see.” She says quietly. I hear her sigh, and her hands squeeze my shoulders more tightly. “So our actions as Noir may still be following us.”
I hang my head down. “I don’t want to be Noir anymore.”
“Neither do I.” she whispers into my ear. “But I’m not so sure we have a choice.”

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