Author: Star of Heaven
Spoilers: Plenty. Avoid if you don't want to know.
Notes: All quotes are from the Japanese version (because it was so much easier to pause and then copy down the subtitles) and the screencaps were taken by me using InterVideo WinDVD 4.
Now, let's move onto the pairing.
Name: Mireille Bouquet
Gun: Walther P-99
Japanese V.A: Kotono Mitsuishi
English V.A: Shelley Calene-Black
"I will open the door to the past."
-Mireille, episode 5
Mireille is a first-rate assassin, trained from a young age by her uncle, Claude Feyder, after they escaped Corsica. In Corsica, the Bouquet family had been a powerful syndicate, but it fell once Mireille's father, mother, and brother were murdered. As an adult, Mireille lives in a small apartment in France. She has several contacts, one of who is her hairdresser. On the surface, she appears to be a normal beautiful woman, but underneath she is an efficient assassin who travels from country to country just to complete her missions.
Mireille seems to be quite cold-hearted. She refuses to become close to anyone, and even criticizes Kirika for being attracted toward an older Czechoslovakian painter in one episode. She is normally very calm, but she easily becomes frustrated when the powerful and mysterious organization Soldats treats her and Kirika like pawns. However, she is not completely devoid of emotion. She allows herself to smile (usually when she is amused by Kirika) and occasionally shows righteous anger, such as when one of her contacts' family is brutally murdered as a warning to her.
Above all, what Mireille wants is for no more secrets in her life. In other words, she wants to find the light in the darkness, the opposite of the true purpose of Noir. To find the answers, she is willing to embark on a pilgrimage with a mysterious young girl and brave any obstacles, no matter how dangerous it may be.
Name: Kirika Yuumura
Gun: Beretta M1934
Japanese V.A: Houko Kuwashima
English V.A: Monica Rial
"They all know me. The only one who doesn't know me is me."
-Kirika, episode 22
Kirika is truly a mysterious character indeed. All she remembers of her past is the name "Noir," and her only possessions are her gun, a watch that once belonged to Mireille's father, and a school ID. When she first awakens, a fake family setting has already been prepared for her: she attends school while her "parents" are away on a trip. Afterwards, unknown men attack her and she learns that she can kill easily with no remorse.
Although she has that school ID, she believes that the name "Kirika Yuumura" is a lie and thus never introduces herself with that name. Her "parents" don't really exist and she only attends school to keep up a charade. While her assassin skills possibly surpass Mireille's, she is a very insecure person. She feels lost and she wonders why she can kill so effortlessly and emotionlessly. To her, anything can be a weapon: forks, sunglasses, popcorn, toy trucks, and so on. On the surface, she is a very kind girl, but deep down, there is a killer that even she worries about.
Like Mireille, Kirika wants to find the light in the darkness that surrounds her. She wants to know her past. However, at the same time, she is afraid. What kind of person could she have been, if she can murder others so easily? But she knows she must be brave, so at the beginning of the series, she sends a message to Mireille: "Make a pilgrimage for the past with me."
"Make a pilgrimage for the past with me." That is what Kirika's first e-mail to Mireille says. At first, Mireille dismisses the message as pointless. However, she then remembers a haunting melody that played when her parents and brother were killed. Reluctantly, Mireille heads to Japan to find this mysterious Kirika Yuumura.
Meanwhile, Kirika is leaving school. A few girls say good-bye to her, and she waves back with a sorrowful smile. When she exits the schoolyard, her face is completely emotionless. As she heads toward her "home," she is confronted by Mireille. Mireille asks her a few questions, but she does not answer. Mireille grows frustrated and pulls out her gun, but then Kirika opens a watch that has two women with swords in profile engraved on the front and that familiar haunting melody plays. Mireille then realizes that this is the watch that she had last seen on that fateful day, the watch that had once belonged to her father.
Kirika runs off, and Mireille quickly follows. Mireille is led to a construction site, and soon she finds Kirika sitting on a beam suspended high in the air, against the sunset. The watch is playing. With her finger on her gun's trigger, Mireille once again asks Kirika about this pilgrimage to the past. Kirika stands up, closes the watch, and pulls out her own gun. At this point, the two of them are surrounded by armed men in black suits. Both Mireille and Kirika begin defending themselves, and they take down several of the men attacking them. However, through a careless mistake, Mireille is caught, but she is quickly rescued by Kirika. Now, Mireille has the chance to see just how efficient Kirika truly is. All of Kirika's shots are fatal, and she once uses one of the men's ties to snap his neck.
One the carnage is over, Mireille and Kirika are the only survivors. Kirika is crying; she is not sad that she killed so many, but rather she is sad that she feels no regret. She seems to be a natural-born killer, but she does not know why. Mireille seems unimpressed by Kirika's grief.
They leave the construction site and head to Kirika's house to treat each other's wounds. There, Mireille learns more about Kirika: that she has amnesia and only remembers the name "Noir," and that when she first woke up after losing her memory she found her gun, the watch, and the ID with the lie that is her current name, and soon after those small discovers she learned that she can kill so easily. While treating Mireille's wounds, Kirika requests that they team up so that they can find the answers to their pasts; they are surely connected somehow because Kirika has the watch of Mireille's father. Mireille is reluctant; she prefers to work alone. However, she soon agrees, but not without a price. Once she confronts the leaders of the men who attacked them and pries the answers she wants out of them, Mireille says, she will kill Kirika. Kirika has seen Mireille's face, so she cannot risk leaving the younger girl alive any longer than she has to. Surprisingly, Kirika seems rather calm with that.
Later, just as they are about to leave Japan for France, Kirika visits her old classroom. When Mireille finds her, Kirika says that she just wanted to see the clock one more time. Mireille then quotes Ernest Hemingway - even in crowds she feels alone. Kirika understands that quite clearly, and together they leave the school.
Once in Paris, Kirika decides to rest in Mireille's bed. Mireille looks at her with almost a serene expression on her face, and, again, she says that she will kill Kirika once all this is over. Kirika replies by saying she will be waiting for that day. Once Kirika is asleep, Mireille walks over to her computer and types "Starting in business: Noir." The journey of two maidens with black hands has begun.
In the beginning, the relationship between Mireille and Kirika is tense at best. For example, when Kirika is cleaning her gun, she slowly points it at Mireille, who in return points her gun at Kirika. They stay like that for a few tense moments before lowering their guns simultaneously. Mireille doesn't seem to trust Kirika that much since she knows nothing about the younger girl. Kirika's feelings toward Mireille are best described as "completely ambiguous." However, there are hints of a real relationship between them. For one thing, Mireille trusts Kirika enough to share a bed with her. Mireille could have easily made Kirika sleep on the couch or the floor, but she doesn't. Also, even in early missions, they work very well together. During fights, they tend to go their own way, but when one is in trouble, the other will come to rescue her.
It is during these early missions that Mireille fully becomes aware of Kirika's natural ability. During one mission, Kirika stabs the arm of a man's sunglasses into the side of his head and then shoots him without even looking. Mireille, possibly feeling jealous and frightened of Kirika's innate skill, says to her, "Your work is always so vulgar."
Between missions, Kirika is slowly adapting to life with Mireille, and it is actually quite peaceful. When they are home after finding out the name of the mysterious organization ("Les Soldats") and a page from the Langumal Manuscript, the Soldats' "Bible," Kirika takes an interest in Mireille's plant and waters it. Mireille seems interested by this action and opens up to Kirika a bit more. She reveals more about her family's murder and her interest in the watch Kirika carries. She also allows Kirika a glimpse at the side of her that wants to find the light. Kirika is interested in learning more about Mireille and is happy that Mireille is beginning to trust her. The scene ends on a happy note and it seems the two women are growing closer to each other.
While Mireille is reluctant to show her feelings to Kirika, Kirika is not. When they head to Russia to kill a kind old man who was once a brutal soldier, Kirika finds a lost kitten and remarks how similar they are: if neither of them knows their name, they have truly gone astray. Later, Kirika learns that this cat does have a name and it belongs to the old man she must kill. She is happy that the cat isn't as lost as her, but she grows hesitant to kill the old man, even if he is very sick. Mireille is annoyed that Kirika seems to be going soft, and this widens the rift already between them. In the end, Kirika completes the mission. She is, of course, sad. The way that Mireille turns her head when she sees Kirika's sorrow after killing the old man suggests that she is beginning to empathize with the younger girl.
The first real test of their bond comes when they fly to a country in the Middle East to assassinate the leaders of a rebel group. Kirika is injured and the bleeding is heavy. Mireille jokes that if Kirika really had died, the older woman would no longer have to be burdened. However, Mireille does seriously debate just killing Kirika right then and there. But while Mireille is trying to make up her mind, Kirika is captured by the rebel leaders who had found her school ID that she had dropped. When Mireille finds out, she remembers her family's murder and listens to the melody of the watch. She then decides that she will save Kirika.
Meanwhile, as Kirika is being tortured, she begins to mumble something about Noir, implying that the torture triggered a vague memory of Noir. The rebels are confused, and when they realize Mireille is attacking, some of them go to find her. Mireille confronts one of the leaders and after she shoots him, she says, "Let me tell you something. Noir is a name for two." Simultaneously, Kirika, possibly instinctively, recites the full prayer of Noir, "Noir, it is the name of an ancient fate. Two maidens who govern death. The peace of the newly born, their black hands protect," hinting at Noir's true purpose. The other leader is confused, and Kirika slashes him with her school ID. Mireille then finds her, and together they escape.
As they continue to fight together, they become closer and drift apart at the same time. Kirika is the one who wants to get to know Mireille better, but Mireille prefers to keep Kirika at arm's length. During a mission in Sicily, Kirika sees a more "human" side of Mireille, one that shows childhood fears. When Mireille does confront and kill the woman who caused such fear during her childhood, she says to Kirika that she's just as vulgar as Kirika is. However, Kirika does not seem to mind such as insult, as she takes it as that she and Mireille are getting to know each other better.
Then Chloe arrives. She claims to be the "True Noir," and seems to know something about Kirika's past. This serves to create a bit of tension between Mireille and Kirika, but their mutual distrust of Chloe keeps them close. When Chloe tracks Mireille and Kirika back to their apartment, the three of them have tea. The atmosphere is very tense, and Mireille and Chloe compare it to the mad tea party from Alice in Wonderland, although Kirika, not familiar with most literature, does not quite understand. Once the tea "party" is over, Mireille and Kirika escort Chloe out, and Chloe asks Kirika about the fork she was hiding. Chloe is quite insistent that Kirika gives her the fork, and Kirika, kind of puzzled, complies. Once Chloe has left, Kirika remarks to Mireille, "She never let her guard down. Not once."
When Chloe returns to the ruins known as "the Manor," she rushes in her mentor's, Altena's, arms. Chloe is eager to tell Altena how she met "her and her friend," the "her" being Kirika and "the friend" being Mireille. This suggests foreshadowing to who Kirika may really be. Chloe also shows off the fork she received from Kirika, hinting that it may be important later on.
Once Chloe has left, Mireille and Kirika get some leisure time. Kirika visits a park that overlooks a lake, and she meets a man who is painting the scenery. She tells him that his painting is nice, and he becomes slightly embarrassed. Later, when Mireille is out shopping for jewelry, she notices Kirika looking at some sketchbooks. Mireille encourages Kirika to buy one, and Kirika is overjoyed.
With her new sketchbook, Kirika returns to the spot she met the painter. He soon arrives, and Kirika apologizes for taking his spot. He says that he doesn't believe in the ownership of places, so Kirika has nothing to apologize for. He sits down next to her and they begin painting. Instead of sketching an outline first, Kirika begins painting immediately. The man is intrigued by that, but Kirika is embarrassed because she doesn't want to seem different. They continue painting until sunset and then they go their separate ways.
Meanwhile, Mireille is at her hairdresser, who is also one of her contacts. She tells Mireille that a friend of a former target is out to find her. Mireille is calm about this, but takes every bit of information her hairdresser has as crucial. Once she has the hairstyle and information she wants, she heads home.
Mireille soon finds out about the painter Kirika is spending a lot of time with. She is coldly blunt in her belief that Kirika should no longer see this man. Kirika doesn't protest, as she understands where Mireille is coming from, but she also doesn't want to listen to Mireille.
The next day, Kirika again meets up with the painter. He tells her his name is Milosh Havel and that he used to be in the Foreign Legion. He is no longer in active duty, and he just wants to live peacefully and paint. He asks for her name, but she hesitates because the only name she knows is just a lie. He understands that she probably has secrets she doesn't want to share, so he doesn't press her for her name. They paint some more, and again, they part and head their separate ways.
Soon, Milosh is called back to duty. He and Kirika paint together one last time, and when it's time to leave, they walk with each part of the way to their homes. When they separate, Kirika goes past the art store and notices that the hand-made tiles Milosh really wants are in stock. She quickly buys some and tries to catch up to him. She calls for him, and as he turns his head, the men looking for Noir open fire on Kirika. She pulls out her gun to defend herself, and Milosh is caught in the crossfire. The men drive off, and Kirika notices that Milosh is fatally hurt. He is only mildly surprised that Kirika has a gun, but he is happy that he got to meet her. He then dies.
Kirika soon joins with Mireille to extract revenge against Milosh's murderers. Once that is done, they return home. Kirika is, of course, distraught, and Mireille basically tells her "I told you so." Mireille then leaves Kirika alone and once she is out of Kirika's hearing range, she begins crying. She knew that Kirika would only be hurt if she become close to someone, and Kirika has very possibly fallen in love with Milosh. Mireille didn't want Kirika to be hurt, and she may very well have been jealous of Milosh. Obviously, Mireille does not want to become close to Kirika, as she has promised to kill the younger girl when she learns the truth about her family's murder, but she really is beginning to care about Kirika, and it is very painful.
Once that event is over, Mireille's uncle, another assassin named Claude Feyder, comes to visit her. She is very happy to see him, and she is willing to show that excitement in front of Kirika. Kirika is curious about him, and Mireille answers all of her questions. Mireille also mentions that if he knows anything about the Soldats, he would tell her. Kirika is interested in meeting Claude, and Mireille promises to introduce them soon.
Mireille and Claude get together and wander around the city. They visit the park that Mireille was so fond of when she was a little girl and there they reminiscence about the past. Claude says that he misses his sister and his brother-in-law, and Mireille tries not to be bothered by the past. The conversation gets too personal when they begin asking about Noir and the Soldats. He asks her about Noir and she asks him about the Soldats. They both answer that they don't know anything. Both answers are lies.
The truth comes out when Claude reveals that he is a member of the Soldats and he knows that Mireille and Kirika are Noir. What he wants is for Mireille to join him, but before she can do that, he tells her, she must first kill Kirika. Mireille is left with a choice: kill her partner or kill her uncle.
Mireille chooses Kirika. Together, they head to Claude's residence. Kirika deals with the two henchmen while Mireille faces off with her uncle in the greenhouse. He is frustrated that she chose Kirika and remarks that she is stubborn like her father. They both draw their guns, but Mireille is quicker. In the blink of an eye, Claude is dead and so are most of the plants. Mireille is sad that she had to kill her uncle, but she does not regret it. Kirika meets up with her, and together they leave, closer than ever.
These two different men played very significant roles in Mireille's and Kirika's relationship. Milosh helped Kirika open up more, and Claude (unintentionally) helped Mireille realize who is more important to her. Kirika wants to open up more to Mireille, and Mireille, possibly subconsciously, thinks of Kirika as very important to her.
However, Mireille still has some personal demons to deal with. Later, when visiting Corsica again, she learns that her father was a member of the Soldats and that it was because of the Soldats the Bouquet family used to hold so much power in Corsica. To add insult to injury, Chloe shows up and warns Mireille that when Kirika wants to come "home," she'd better not interfere.
When Mireille returns to France, she's more distrustful of Kirika than ever. She knows that Kirika isn't lying to her, but she still lashes out. Kirika, hurt, leaves and wanders around Paris, alone. At a bus stop, she meets an old lady who notices how sad Kirika seems. Kirika answers that her friend is suffering and she doesn't know how to help. Meanwhile, back at the apartment, Mireille notices that Kirika left her gun and her school ID behind.
Kirika and Mireille reconcile when Kirika kills a Soldats man who was attempting to kill Mireille. However, to do so, Kirika had to give up a chance to obtain a copy of the Langumal Manuscript, the book that holds all the answers to the mystery of the Soldats and Noir. Mireille is surprised, but happy. She teases Kirika lightly, and they return to their apartment. Their relationship has progressed a bit, since now Mireille finally refers to Kirika by her name (whereas Altena and Chloe rarely, if ever, do so).
However, the happy times don't last long. As Mireille and Kirika learn more about the mystery of the Soldats (including an important phrase – "The sin within the sin"), Chloe tracks them down yet again. This time, she tells them something very important: "Noir was originally a name for two." Both Mireille and Kirika are surprised; Mireille had originally chosen the name to hide the fact that there were two of them. As this revelation sinks in, the three of them are attacked by more Soldats men. The women, of course, defeat them, but during the fight Mireille noticed that Kirika and Chloe work exceptionally well, as if they were meant to be. After the fight, Chloe begins to recite the Noir prayer, and Kirika instinctively follows suit. Once she realizes what she is doing, she becomes frightened and starts screaming and crying. Mireille doesn't know how to react, as she is afraid that Kirika will drift even further away from her.
Once back at the apartment, Mireille tries to be kind to Kirika and even puts on a pretty smile. However, Kirika knows that smile is fake and wishes that Mireille wouldn't look at her like that. Kirika knows that Mireille is growing more scared of her, and even she has also grown more afraid of herself. The riff between them is widening, and that hurts both Kirika and Mireille.
And it continues to go downhill from there. After being invaded by enemies at their home apartment, Kirika begins to partially regain her memory, and the dark truth is out: she was the one to kill Mireille's family when Altena ordered their execution after they refused to allow Mireille to become one of the candidates for Noir (so, her decision to use the codename "Noir" is ironic in itself). Kirika is heartbroken and Mireille is beyond shocked. Before they have a chance to react anymore, they are attacked by more Soldats men (who are merely pawns to test the strength of the Noir candidates). As they fight, it begins raining and the two women become separated. When they meet again, Kirika begs Mireille to kill her, but Mireille refuses. She says that she'll kill Kirika the next time they meet, and then leaves. Kirika breaks down and cries.
And thus begins Kirika's lonely journey "home." She makes it to a small village where all the inhabitants support Altena's "Le Grand Retour" and recognize her as "Noir." She is distraught by that, as she is apparently the only person who doesn't know who she is. She is friendly toward a little girl who resembles Mireille, and she realizes how much she misses her only friend. The villagers are all kind to Kirika, making her feel somewhat at ease. However, when they are massacred by Soldats men who oppose Altena, Kirika snaps and becomes the emotionless killing machine she was before she lost her memories.
Once Kirika extracts her revenge, she finds her way to the Manor where she is greeted by Altena and Chloe. There, she learns the original purpose of Noir: two maidens enter the darkness so to protect the rest of the world from that darkness. The maidens are chosen from several "saplings" that must endure many trials to prove that they are worthy of being Noir. That is the Soldats of old, the Soldats that protected the world from within the darkness before they were corrupted by that very darkness, and what Altena's Le Grand Retour aims for. Kirika also learns Altena's motto: "If love can kill, surely hatred can save."
Meanwhile, Mireille is confronted by a Soldats man who is against Altena's methods. He doesn't want to fight, so he offers Mireille an offer: she can join the Soldats if she truly becomes Noir. To do so, she must either kill Chloe or Kirika so that Altena will be forced to perform the ceremony with Mireille. He tells Mireille that she does not have to answer immediately.
Later, Mireille is lonely back in her (now destroyed) apartment. Her plant (which earlier in the series, Kirika had been interested in) is now dead, and when she goes to move it, she discovers a note from Kirika. It reads:
"Mireille, I have a very bad feeling. That is why I write this to you now. That time, Chloe said that the Soldats were my true home. I may never be able to see you again. There is another me. It is a feeling I have. I do not mind being killed by you. But if that moment came and there was no time for a final exchange of words, I could never bear that. Because there is something I want to tell you, no matter what. Mireille, I was alone, alone for a long time. I had nothing. It frightened me, and it hurt. But I was not alone. When I learned that Noir was originally a name for two, it was, of course, a shock, but in my heart, I felt joy. I had you. Mireille, you were there for me and I was happy. I was happy. Very much so. My dear Mireille, oh, I just cannot express it well in writing. Thank you, Mireille. Thank you."
Kirika's feelings for Mireille are now out in the open. She has always thought of Mireille as a friend, possibly the only one she's ever had. After reading this touching letter, Mireille decides it's time for her to stop moping around. She tracks down the Soldats man who confronted her earlier, and tells him that while she will head to the Manor, she is not doing it for the Soldats. She refuses to be their pawn any longer. When he asks her if she's willing to fight the darkness alone, she answers, "Not necessarily alone."
Back at the Manor, Chloe and Kirika are preparing for the Noir ceremony. Chloe's feelings for Kirika are most likely romantic (although she may only be in love with her idealized version of Kirika) and she reveals that she still has the fork Kirika gave her all that time ago. Kirika is unimpressed and doesn't seem to care all that much about Chloe. There is quite a bit of mistrust between them, as Chloe is more likely to choose Altena over Kirika and worries endlessly when Kirika holds a weapon in the presence of Altena.
When Mireille arrives at the Manor, the fight is on. As Chloe points out, Noir candidates used to fight at these ruins to the death for the chance to be chosen. Kirika goes after Mireille, and when Mireille is cornered, she throws her father's watch into the air and shoots it. The music still plays, reminding Kirika of her feelings for Mireille. She remembers Mireille's mother telling her that while love does sometimes kill, hatred can never save. She also remembers that Mireille's mother wanted her to protect Mireille. Chloe, jealous and feeling betrayed by Kirika, attacks Mireille in a blind rage. However, Kirika grabs hold of the fork Chloe treasured so much and stabs it into Chloe's heart, killing her.
Mireille and Kirika properly lay Chloe's body to rest. Kirika then begins crying; for the first time since she can remember, she feels sad for killing someone. Mireille lightly hugs Kirika and says she is happy that Kirika has come back. As they tend to each other's wounds, they remark on how similar this is to when they first met. Then, after they reload their guns, they are ready to take down Altena.
Mireille and Kirika storm the Manor and scream out that they are Noir and that if their soon-be-victims want to survive, they had better run. Kirika and Mireille fight through the nuns foolish enough to stay, and soon they find Altena. Altena flees, and Mireille and Kirika follow her down a long flight of hidden stairs. When they finally reach the end, they find Altena standing in front of an open lava pit.
Altena tells them congratulations, they have become Noir. However, Mireille and Kirika don't want to be Noir; they don't want to remain in the darkness forever. They both point their guns at Altena, but neither shoots. They no longer want to kill. Altena reveals her own gun and shoots Kirika in the side. She tells Mireille that if she doesn't shoot, Kirika will be killed. Kirika then gets up and pushes Altena into the lava pit. Altena falls calmly to her death, and Kirika is saved by Mireille.
Mireille helps the injured Kirika out of the Manor, and outside the Soldats elders are waiting for them. They thank the two women for killing Altena and also congratulate them on becoming Noir. Again, Kirika and Mireille refuse the title. They have fought so hard to break free of the darkness, and they certainly aren't going back in. They also refuse to be the Soldats' pawns any longer. As they walk past the Soldats elders, Mireille and Kirika decide that they would like to have some tea when they get home. As they have finally found the light and the courage to live their own lives, they certainly have earned it.
Simply put, the relationship between Mireille and Kirika is the focal point of the series. While they do not trust each other at the beginning, they still rely on each other. The bond formed between them is instantly strong, and they do seem very comfortable around each other (as they do share a bed together on several occasions). As Kirika saves Mireille's life more and more, Mireille begins to open up more. Kirika is happy to be with Mireille, and she doesn't mind being told that she will be killed when Mireille discovers the truth about her family's death, as she is happy to have made such an important promise with another person. But, in the end, Mireille chooses not to keep that promise and Kirika continues to stay by Mireille's side.
Throughout the series, Mireille is often faced with a choice: further her own interests or save Kirika. She always chooses Kirika, sometimes over her own safety. Kirika is very important to Mireille (and vice versa), although Mireille is less likely to admit that than Kirika. They live together for several months, and eventually it becomes hard for them to imagine life without the other. Things are not always pleasant between them, but they have the patience to work things out, as evidenced several times in the series.
"If love can kill, then surely hatred can save." This is Altena's motto, but before Mireille's mother was killed, she told Kirika that while love does sometimes kill, hatred can never save. That is proven true during the big battle between Mireille, Kirika and Chloe. While Chloe is killed because of Kirika's love for Mireille, Mireille is saved because of that love and Chloe dies because of her hatred and jealousy for Mireille. Chloe loved Kirika, but Kirika didn't return the love, so Chloe died and Mireille, the one Kirika does love, lived.
Also, earlier when Kirika was begging Mireille to kill her after finding out that she had been the one to murder Mireille's family, Mireille refuses to kill Kirika because of her love for the younger girl. If Mireille had hated Kirika, she would have had no problems killing Kirika. It was because of Mireille's love for her that she lived. Mireille couldn't bring herself to kill Kirika, even through she had sworn revenge. Kirika killed Mireille's family, but even then Mireille couldn't hate Kirika, as she felt too strongly toward the younger girl to kill the only person close to her. It takes a long time to form a bond that strong, and Mireille didn't want to throw it away so easily, as she, like Kirika, had been lonely for too long. When Mireille and Kirika stand in opposition to each other (hate), trouble soon follows. But when they stand together (love), they can fight back and live another day.
Both Mireille and Kirika were alone for a very long time. They were connected by a thread of pure black, and it eventually pulled them together. Their relationship progressed slowly, and it took them a while to figure out their feelings toward each other. They learned more about each other, and while some of that brought heartache, they were able to forgive both each other and themselves for their transgressions. They were brought together by the darkness (Noir), but now they can escape the darkness and live together in the light and forever forsake the name of Noir.
Mireille and Kirika are definitely more than friends. After all they've been through, all the sacrifices they made and all the pain they endured for each other, it would be much to simple to brush that all under friendship. They are very similar, and they were drawn to each other because of that. They were both immersed in the darkness (Noir) but wanted to escape into the light. They did find the truth, and while much of it was painful (as sudden light is very blinding), they could lean on each other for support. To endure all the pain they did together is surely an act of love. Mireille and Kirika love each other very much, and when faced with the choice, no matter how painful it was, they always chose each other. That is nothing less than love.
So, where are they now? They must surely have had that tea, and that was probably the best tea they ever had. However, even though they have forsaken the name of Noir (and in essence, their jobs as assassins), the Soldats know where they live and they're not willing to let Kirika and Mireille go that easily. It seems that the two women still have a few tasks to finish before they can secure their future together, but if they truly love each that much, it shouldn't be a problem. They've made that pilgrimage to the past, and now it's time for them to make a pilgrimage to the future together. I believe that Mireille and Kirika are definitely up to the task.
Noir's fandom is small, but is it one of the most yuri-friendly ones. Noir was first broadcasted in 2001, several years after Sailor Moon and Revolutionary Girl Utena, two other yuri-friendly animes. The yuri in Noir is not explicitly canon (although there is plenty of subtext, and for a while that was all yuri fans had to go on), but because of that subtext, it was a godsend to yuri fans at the time. Then came Maria-sama ga Miteru (2004, although the novels have been running since 1998) and Yami to Boushi to Hon no Tabibito (2003) for the overly obvious subtext-that-might-as-well-be-canon and the blatant yuri with a sad ending, respectively, and then Kannazuki no Miko (2004), Kashimashi (2006), Strawberry Panic (2006), and Simoun (2006) for canon yuri animes with actual happy endings. Noir is still popular among the yuri fandom, despite it's not-quite-canon-but-still-happy yuri. Because really, can the intense relationship between Mireille and Kirika simply be called "friendship"?
Now, as I'm not as involved with the Noir fandom as I am with other fandoms, I don't know of any of the "must-read" fan fiction. Also, as Mireille/Kirika is the most popular pairing in the fandom, it's a bit overwhelming to look through the fandom and find the best ones. So, I'll provide general links to a variety of Mireille/Kirika fics.
Noir at FanFiction.net
Noir at ShoujoAi.com
Noir at crack_van - recs here
noir_black - general Noir community
noir_fanfics - Noir fan fiction community
Mireille/Kirika may not be explicitly canon, but the subtext between them cannot simply be ignored. Their relationship isn't calm enough to be described as friendship. They may have their ups and downs, but Kirika and Mireille always choose each other in the end. That, I believe, can truly be called "love."