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The Red Hat Job

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It was a mission of the highest importance, greater than anything Gideon had ever set out to accomplish before, and it had to be done to perfection which was precisely why she got Palamedes and Camilla involved. Unfortunately, the terrible teens were set on getting involved too, which put the goal of ‘perfect’ somewhere between ‘maybe’ and ‘get fucked.’

Still, she wasn’t enough of an asshole to turn them away, not when they looked so excited she was sure they would start to vibrate on the spot.

So there she was, twenty feet above the floor, upside down like some kind of very handsome bat as she climbed hand over hand along a line of tendon Palamedes threaded across the ceiling, and doing her absolute best to make as little noise as possible.

Twenty feet below, sitting totally unawares at the kitchen island, was her target, sitting prim, black, and far too gloomy for this time of year while Camilla, Isaac and Jeannemary chatted away, distracting Harrow from noticing anything amiss.


All according to plan.

Getting herself into position overhead, Gideon turned her back to the ceiling and strummed three times on the tendon, signalling Palamedes to start lowering her. With the connective tissue anchored to her waist, Palamedes kept just out of sight around the corner into the room, staring intently as he brought her closer to their objective inch by inch.

She fished the hat out of her pocket and held it at the ready. Closer, closer…

“Well, this has been enlightening,” said Harrow, setting down her empty mug and nearly giving Gideon a conniption. The goal was in reach! “But I really must study.”

“Wait, look!” said Isaac, scattering a bunch of toothpick sized bones on the counter. The bones quickly arranged into a collection of skeletal mice, each with fiery green eyes, who proceeded to break into teams and fight each other with the actual toothpicks.

He looked very pleased with himself.

Harrow stared in marked bemusement.

Gideon struck with perfect accuracy, a short, sharp lunge and the hat touched down on the Reverend Daughter’s head like a flower on the head of an ambushed cat, with about the same reaction too.

Harrow went rigid, her shoulders rising in a cringe deeper than any Gideon had ever seen her pull before, as the white-rimmed, bright red floppy Christmas hat perched above her pristinely painted skull-face and ruined any sense of grim aloofness.

Kssht, the hat has landed, I repeat, the hat has landed, kssht!” Gideon reported into her closed fist, struggling not to laugh as Harrow’s head snapped up to see her.

In one sharp, upward motion, Harrow sent a finger sized bone blade flying and cut the tendon holding her aloft. All tension released from her waist and Gideon tumbled to the kitchen island, crushing Isaac’s battling mice and knocking Harrow’s mug to the floor.

It would have smashed to pieces if Camilla hadn’t caught it, not a change in expression. Absolute icon.

Unperturbed, Gideon flipped on her side and propped herself up on one elbow, head in her hand and a grin on her face. “Good morning, my penumbral lady,” she said, “you looked like you needed cheering up.”

Harrow’s coal black eyes could have burned a hole through solid steel, which caused the others to quickly and stealthily vacate the premises, but as Harrow grabbed her face and leaned in to kiss her Gideon could’ve sworn she overhead Palamedes say;

“It’s certainly the strangest courting ritual I’ve ever seen.”