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Since Gideon died, everything had been really strange. 

The dying itself had been painful and pretty overrated, as far as Gideon was concerned; no light at the end of the tunnel or hot ladies in bikinis waiting for her in the afterlife. Instead, it was a whole lot of pain and then a whole lot of nothing. And then there was the whole debacle of being shoved in a box in Harrow’s mind, which was even worse, and when she woke up in Harrow’s body with complete functionality, it was somehow more disorienting.

Then she died again, swallowing up the River, and they were both back at square one.

Waking up officially, back in her own body, had been even more bizarre than anything else. Colors swam before her eyes, and it took what felt like ages to be able to keep them open. Breathing was laborious, like she had swapped bodies with one of the Great Aunts or something. She was surrounded by people she vaguely recognized but was too confused to place their names...except for one.

Harrowhark Nonagesimus. 

She was still wearing her stupid skull paint, but it was running, the black paint streaking with her tears. Something seemed...wrong with Harrow’s face, but Gideon was far too delirious to figure out what it was. One of Harrow’s tiny hands was on her chest, feeling the new rise and fall of Gideon’s lungs, and the other at her neck, feeling a pulse.

Gideon gasped a few times, and Harrow actually shrieked with sobs, falling atop Gideon’s body in a full embrace. She hugged her with her arms and her legs like some sort of weird koala. She was strangely hot, almost feverish, but Gideon chalked that up to herself being dead and cold for God knows how long.

Eventually, Gideon decided to try out her worn-out vocal cords. “Don’t cry, my unholy maiden. I’m here now.”

It didn’t work. Harrow cried more. She lifted her head, though, giving Gideon an excellent view of what it looked like for snot to mess up her face paint. It also revealed where Harrow’s face was wrong--her eyes were not her own. They were bright and golden, practically glowing in the dim room like a cat’s.

“You idiot !” she screamed. With a quickness Gideon had never seen the sickly little necromancer move, she slapped each of her scalding-hot hands on either of Gideon’s cheeks and planted a kiss right on her mouth.

Gideon would’ve screamed if she were able, but all she managed was a muffled, “Hmph?!” 

She felt as though every atom of her once-deceased body were lit aflame at once, burning her to a crisp as her heat managed to match Harrow’s. Her mouth was hot, too, her saliva like molten lava as it spilled into her mouth. She tasted like metal and chalk with a hint of salty snot, which would’ve been disgusting if she were kissing anyone but Harrow.

Gideon knew Harrow had kissed someone before--which she immediately forced herself to forget about, for kissing Ianthe Tridentarius was a disgusting endeavor indeed--but with how slobbery and desperate Harrow felt, she clearly lacked any sort of experience in the matter. Not that Gideon was particularly experienced, either, but she had a feeling it wasn’t like this. It felt more like Harrow was trying to suck her soul out through her tongue than make out with her properly, but Gideon didn’t particularly mind.

Gideon was here, alive. And Harrow was here, sobbing into her mouth while God-knows-who watched.

Eventually, Harrow pulled away, panting a little, wiping the strings of saliva that connected their lips. Behind her, someone cleared their throat, and Harrow immediately stumbled off of Gideon’s body, as though she hadn’t just spent the last five minutes with her tongue in her throat.

It was then Gideon was made aware of how hard she was, and with the abdominal pain of a thousand torches to her innards, she sat up, hoping the wrinkles in her pants would hide it. She didn’t necessarily want her audience to see that. She wasn’t sure if she even wanted Harrow to see that; sure, Harrow knew what parts Gideon had, for she had to sign off on her hormones and knew Gideon as a child, but the fact that Harrow made her genitals do, well, genital things and the thought of Harrow analyzing her a bit more closely made her feel odd.

That was a problem for later Gideon. Current Gideon would have to face whoever was in the room.

“It worked,” one of the people noted. Gideon recognized the nonchalant monotone instantly: Camilla Hect, Cavalier of the Sixth. She was leaning against a wall, seeming nonplussed by the entire display, and when her eyes met Gideon’s, she gave her a polite nod and a small smile.

A skeletal hand crawled up Cam’s arm and perched on her shoulder. It seemed curious somehow, and for a moment, Gideon wondered if it was some strange construct of Harrow’s, but it didn’t behave like Harrow’s skeletons. It seemed to analyze the room and have its own awareness, not being purely puppeted by a bone adept. Gideon wanted to ask about it, but it didn’t seem like the right time.

That, and she was extremely dizzy. Maybe it was a bit early for sitting up, or maybe Harrow’s tonsil investigation was just that aggressive. 

Beside Cam was a familiar golden-haired woman, standing head and shoulders above the cavalier--Coronabeth Tridentarius. She had clasped her hands together in delight, a wide grin on her face, as though watching Harrow tongue-fuck her was just the most exciting thing in the solar system.

Coronabeth looked from Harrow--who looked as though she wanted to sink through the floor--to Gideon, back and forth a few times before squealing, “Oh, I knew you two were an item!”

Harrow choked on air for a moment. “I! I mean! We never--”

“Coronabeth,” Cam interrupted, “it’s not really our place.” But she still gave Gideon a wink, and it was Gideon’s turn to want to disappear. 

“But did you see that passion , Cammy?”

“Don’t call me Cammy.” Cam grabbed Coronabeth by the arm. “Let’s...give them some time, okay? I think they have a lot of things to talk about.”

“They’re gonna have sex , Cammy!”

“That’s none of our business.” Camilla was practically shoving the golden-haired woman through the door at this point, looking exasperated. Cam then followed her, pausing to look through the crack in the door.

“It’s good to have you back, Gideon,” she said. Then she shut the door behind them, leaving Harrow and Gideon in possibly the most awkward of silences.

Harrow opened and closed her mouth a few times, looking like a skeletal fish drowning in oxygen, but settled on saying nothing at all.

Gideon figured Harrow wouldn’t say anything without a little prompt. If she learned anything about Harrow after all these years, it was that Harrow was more like a strange, morbid cat than a normal human girl, and had to be coaxed and possibly tricked into doing anything that could benefit her.

“We should probably talk,” Gideon said. Seeing the look on Harrow’s face, Gideon realized that might’ve been a bit too harsh, so she added, “Y’know, ‘cause we haven’t seen each other in a while.”

That made it worse. Hands clenched in tiny, pale fists, Harrow exclaimed, “Haven’t seen each other? You’re a bigger moron than I thought! You killed yourself ! I did everything I could to keep you alive, because I--because I--” 

Her momentary bravado ran out, and she sank to her knees, heaving in sobs.

Gideon’s heart twisted. “Harrow, don’t--”

Those hands fell onto her knees, gripping the dark fabric on them as she shouted, “I did everything for you because I love you, you absolute moron!”

The ending of her phrase echoed in the room for a moment as Harrow’s shoulders shook with silent sobs and radiating anger. On shaky, atrophied legs, Gideon stood, eyes wide at the revelation. The year she was kept inside a box in Harrow’s hellacious brain ran through her own mind as her eyes met Harrow’s. As she noticed the pure gold in Harrow’s eyes--Gideon’s stolen eyes--she was reminded of the time she was trapped inside Harrow’s shrimpy little body and forced to fight for their lives. 

Harrow hadn’t been rejecting her sacrifice.

She loved her too much to let her go.

It hurt to move, but a bit less with every step, as though her body were healing as she made her way to Harrow. Harrow held out shaking arms to her, and as Gideon met her embrace, she realized how easy it’d be to break her. She was so small, so fragile...and Gideon would do anything to protect her.

Their lips met again, Gideon matching Harrow’s hunger. It seemed to take her aback a little, as Harrow gasped a bit into the kiss, but Gideon wasn’t through with her. With a gentle shove and the lift of her knee, Harrow was pinned against the wall, the heat between her legs, clearly only divided by a thin pair of leggings, resting on Gideon’s thigh. 

Instinctively, Harrow moved her hips, desperate for friction, letting out tiny sighs into Gideon’s open mouth. As her sharp nails dug into Gideon’s arms, she murmured, “I missed you.”

The breathy confession made Gideon shiver, but as Harrow increased her rhythm, she became keenly aware of where this kiss was going. She pulled back to look at Harrow’s pointy little face, trying to bring her heart rate and strain in her pants to something relatively normal.

What was she supposed to do with Harrow, anyway, if it got down to it? Harrow liked bones, but did she like boners? Gideon would’ve laughed at her internal joke, but the concern in Harrow’s face made it stick in her throat instead.

“Did I hurt you?” Harrow asked, eyebrows scrunching up half of her tiny face.

A laughable comment, given all that had happened now. “No, I just…”

Something in Harrow’s bright eyes twinkled as she put together what was happening. “Do you like this, Griddle?”

The childhood nickname had a strange tug on Gideon’s heart and her dick. She’d have to untangle that web of weirdness later, but at least the earning of her nickname wasn’t all negative. It started when barely-verbal toddler Harrow, succeeding at small constructs but failing at normal social interactions, couldn’t say Gideon’s name properly, so she went with something she could say--Griddle. Gideon remembered rather vividly seeing tiny Harrow, followed by her weeny constructs, reaching out with her little toddler hands and crying, “ Griddle!

Then Harrow’s parents died, and Griddle became an insult.

Now, Gideon supposed, it became a fetish.

“I mean,” Gideon managed, voice cracking a bit, “I’ve been jamming my tongue in your mouth, and you’re grinding on my leg. What kind of sociopath wouldn’t be hard at that?”

Harrow eyed her own predicament for a moment, frowning, as though she wasn’t aware of what she was doing. “I suppose, but…” She chewed her lip, peeling a bit more of the black paint away, revealing just how red and kiss-swollen her lips really were. “I know what I’ve done to you. I know what we’ve done to each other . And I’ve seen your magazines. I suppose I was a bit...forward earlier, but it was like I lost self control for a moment, and I’m sorry for that. But this?” She gestured at the room. “You don’t need to do all of this for me. I know I’m not…” Her voice trailed off.

“You’re not what?”

“Your type. I’m not those ridiculously busty Naughty Nuns of the Ninth. I’m...horrible. A monster. With none of the curves you so enjoy.”

Gideon couldn’t help it. She laughed. It was a sharp, barking sound, not one of her usual deep chuckles. “Harrow, I’m your sword. And your... sword .” She thrust forward.

Harrow covered her face. “Don’t ever say that again.” But behind her shaky palms, Gideon could see that she was smiling.

“We can talk about all the...emotional bits and all that weirdness, but physically? I’m not blind, Harrow. Besides, the magazines aren’t real. You shouldn’t compare yourself to that.”

Gideon’s words sank into her own mind, and her smile faded. Here she was, in the flesh, alive, with a real woman who she has loved her entire life and would die for--and had died for. She wasn’t an image on a paper she could jack off to. Harrow was real , and whatever this physicality led to was real, too--and it’d be nothing like anything Gideon had read.

“They’re not?” Harrow’s eyes looked genuinely distressed, and Gideon worried she’d start crying again.

“Of course they’re not! You’ve told me that yourself! It doesn’t make it any different now.”

Harrow sucked in a breath and nodded. “If you’re sure you really want...me. After everything.”

“I wouldn’t have died for you if I didn’t love you, Harrow.” She reached up and brushed a strand of hair out of Harrow’s eye, then dropped her hand to caress her necromancer’s cheek. Her palm was almost the size of Harrow’s face, and for a moment, Gideon marveled in it. 

But when Harrow leaned over and pressed a little kiss to the side of her hand, she was brought back to the crushing reality of oh shit, this is actually happening. This girl I’ve loved for years loves me and is implying she wants to sleep with me.

Gideon began carefully, “Harrow.”

“Yes, Griddle?”

“You realize I, uh. Don’t have traditional parts.”

Harrow rolled her eyes. “Obviously. I’ve known you my whole life. I made sure we always had the finances to supply your hormones. Besides.” The pitch of Harrow’s voice dropped a bit. “I can feel you on my leg.” She twitched her leg against Gideon’s crotch to prove her point, and Gideon thought she would black out then and there.

“So that, uh. Doesn’t bother you?”

Harrow tilted her head, as though she were scheming, and adjusted her leg so it was massaging against her groin in a firm but slow up and down motion. “Griddle. Do you really think I would’ve gone to all this effort if something as stupid as that bothered me? Do you think I would’ve kissed you like that or let you pin me against the wall? I love you, you moron. I want you. Now kiss me again.”

And kiss her, she did. Gideon felt as though she were lit aflame at that, a fire controlled only by Harrow’s hands on the fuzzy nape of her neck, her shoulders, up her shirt. Somewhere in the kiss, Gideon’s shirt began to come off completely, leaving Gideon exposed from the waist up. Harrow didn’t waste time to look, but her hands roamed her chest before cupping her breasts.

A low moan ripped from Gideon’s chest right into Harrow’s mouth, and Gideon could’ve sworn she felt a smile against her teeth. It was as though Harrow’s motions were moan-activated, though, because she began to move her hips again. Gideon could feel the streaks of moisture left behind every stroke against her leg.

She could also feel Harrow’s pointy, bone adept fingers toying with her nipples, and Gideon almost came then and there. She wasn’t used to being touched like this, especially after being dead, but she didn’t expect holding in her orgasm to be so difficult. 

Despite her lack of experience, Harrow was good .

Maybe she studied the magazines more than she let on.

Eventually, Harrow began to move a little faster, and her hands dropped from Gideon’s breasts. She gripped onto Gideons arms, digging in her nails, and for the first time, Gideon heard her moan--not like the gasps with kissing, but something far more primal, a noise Gideon never imagined a sepulchral nun to make. 

Gideon felt like she was dying all over again. Harrow’s kisses became desperate, as though she couldn’t breathe without Gideon’s lips on her. Her hips began to stutter as she moved faster and faster. Gideon lifted her leg a little, pressing against Harrow’s wetness, and the world shattered.

Harrow came-- hard .

Gideon separated from the kiss, just a breath or two away, partially because she thought she was actually going to pass out, but also because she wanted to hear what Harrow sounded like when she came. She wondered, in the back of her mind, if Harrow had ever had an orgasm before--could other people come like that with their pants still on? Granted, they were rather thin, and Gideon wasn’t so sure she had underwear on. Still, there had to be some more layers of repression there.

Regardless, Harrow fell apart against the wall and on her leg. She wasn’t quiet about it, either, and Gideon wondered if Cam and Coronabeth could hear her. Gideon wasn’t sure how much she cared, though, for she was now utterly obsessed with the sound of her necromancer coming undone. 

Gideon felt warmth where Harrow had been grinding against her, along with the little flutter of her pulsating walls. She nearly screamed and fell forward, as though she couldn’t hold up her own bodyweight, her head on Gideon’s shoulder with her mouth to her neck. 

When the sounds subsided to heavy breaths, Gideon lowered her leg, letting Harrow wrap her legs around her waist and cling to her. For a moment, the only sound in the room was their breathing, until Harrow climbed down from her full-body grip on Gideon. 

She ran her fingers up and down Gideon’s stomach. There wasn’t even a mark from the spike, thanks to being John’s daughter, but there was still a plethora of blood and tissue left behind, clinging to her skin in varying shades of black and brown. 

“Never again,” she muttered. Hands resting on the top of Gideon’s pants, she repeated, “Don’t ever leave me again, Gideon.”

“I’m not,” Gideon replied. Her heart was in her throat. She knew where Harrow tugging on her pants was leading, but it made her head swim. She was desperate to get off, but she still felt strange, almost selfish, of having Harrow please her.

Harrow’s words, though, surprised her. “Let’s give you a bath first.”

“First?”

From Gideon’s waist, Harrow’s grin was predatory. “Yes, Griddle. First. Before I absolutely wreck you.”

Gideon felt her cheeks grow hot. “Oh, you don’t have to--”

“Griddle.” Her grin remained, but her eyes were stern--indicative of a Harrow with a plan. “You’re my cavalier. Let me love and cherish you.” She stood and held out a bony hand. “Come with me.”

Gideon took her hand, but frowned at her own bare breasts. “I don’t have a shirt on.”

Harrow rolled her eyes, balled up Gideon’s shirt on the floor, and threw it at her. “Hurry up. You’ve left me waiting for years.”

Gideon slipped it over her head and followed her necromancer out of the room, realizing that she’d do anything Harrow said. She’d do anything for Harrow in general . A few years ago, that thought would’ve terrified her, but now, it felt right, as though they were made for each other.

They ran into Coronabeth in the hall, who giggled and ran off while Harrow muttered something under her breath about eavesdroppers. But with a short distance across the ship, they made it to Harrow’s private quarters and her bathroom.

It was just as macabre as Gideon would’ve expected: black walls, black tiles, even a black bathtub. It was decorated with skulls and candlesticks and all sorts of Harrowy things. The claw-footed bathtub was impossibly large, Gideon realized as Harrow stood on her toes to turn the faucet on. Smiling, she thought of little Harrow submerged in the tub, the water past her chin. 

Then she realized there was probably a reason for the tub being so large.

It was made for Gideon.

Harrow dug through her cabinets, grabbing what looked like a black orb and a bag of salt along with various bottles of soap and a sponge. She dumped the salt in the water first, making it clear to Gideon that they were likely to talk quite a bit, and then threw in the orb.

It was a bath bomb--the water exploded with ink-black clouds, swirling with the currents made by the faucet. 

“I’ve been saving it,” Harrow admitted, “for when you were...when you returned to me.”

“It’s very you,” Gideon agreed.

Harrow gave a satisfied, proud little smile, and made quick work of her clothing. 

Gideon had seen Harrow naked before, but was too indisposed to properly appreciate it. Now, in the low light of the gothic bathroom, she could see all of Harrow, just as slight as ever. Everything about her was tiny from her bony, frail shoulders to  her little breasts with their rather hardened nipples. A little trail of dark hair from her navel led to a larger patch between her leg, and Gideon noticed she flushed when Gideon looked at it. Harrow dropped her hands for a second, covering between her legs, then hesitantly moved them to rest on her hips instead.

In a shaky but demanding tone, Harrow said, “Your turn, Griddle.”

The shirt was the easy part--Harrow had already seen that much--and it egged her on to see Harrow’s amber eyes go wide as she took in all of Gideon’s musculature. It was the below-the-waist part that Gideon struggled with. Her hands slipped around the button a few times, and she laughed nervously to cover it up.

Harrow, naturally, was having none of it. She got on her knees and unfastened Gideon’s pants.

Gideon looked down at Harrow, who was staring rather intently at her bulge. “Promise not to...laugh or make it a thing.”

Harrow rolled her eyes and crossed her arms. “I don’t know how to put it, Griddle. Maybe I should say something crass so you fully understand.” She grabbed the waistband of Gideon’s underwear and her pants and yanked them downward. “I want you inside me , you maddening cavalier.”

Gideon felt a twitch between her legs--little Gideon clearly liked that comment very much. That didn’t stop her from being nervous, though, and every atom of her being wanted to conceal herself, to put her pants back on and run out of the bathroom, but something about Harrow’s adoring little face left her feet firmly planted on the black tile.

Harrow’s little hands held onto the shaft as she inspected it. It was almost clinical, but arousing, as Gideon felt herself grow exponentially harder with every movement of her fingers or careful glance from her necromancer. Gideon’s breath caught in her throat as Harrow placed a careful kiss on the head.

But instead of taking Gideon in her mouth, Harrow said, “The bathwater is done.”

Gideon felt like she was going to explode, but she followed Harrow into the bath anyway.

Harrow sunk in like some sort of void demon, sinking her entire little body into the black water until nothing was visible, until her head popped up and she scooted to the other side to make room for Gideon. She busied herself with soaking a sponge with soap as Gideon stepped in.

The water was uncomfortably hot. Gideon had no idea how Harrow’s entire body was comfortably in it. It almost hurt , so she stood in it for a while, waiting for her legs to adjust before lowering her body in, bit by bit. 

“You’re fine where you are,” Harrow noted, “because I need to wash you.”

“I’m a grown woman, my twilit princess,” Gideon replied. “I can wash myself.”

Harrow glared at her, making both Gideon and Little Gideon shiver. “You’re not.”

“I’m...not a grown woman?”

“You’re my woman. And I want my woman adequately clean .” Harrow splashed over and began scrubbing off the blood and gore from Gideon’s stomach. 

It was a little rough, full of intent at first, but after dipping the sponge back into the void-black water and bringing it back to her abdomen, it was much gentler, as though Harrow was merely exploring. She skipped over Gideon’s crotch, but gave the head a little kiss again, a little physical promise to return later. She scrubbed over Gideon’s legs, using both the sponge and her hands to feel them. After she was satisfied, she demanded Gideon turn around.

“Why?” she asked.

“There’s blood on your back, too.”

Gideon hesitantly obliged, and Harrow dutifully scrubbed again. Gideon watched as the black bath filled with little bubbles, and she decided to grab a handful and put them on her chin for a surprise for Harrow. 

After a bit of scrubbing, Harrow gave Gideon a little tap. “Sit with me and turn around.”

“So bossy,” Gideon murmured, but made sure to chuckle a little so Harrow didn’t take offense.

When Gideon sat and turned around, bubble beard on full display, Harrow groaned and disappeared under the water. Laughing, Gideon reached down to grab her, receiving a very wet and very grumpy-faced necromancer.

“You’re ridiculous,” Harrow said. 

“You offered all these bubbles! What else was I supposed to do?”

“Not that!” Harrow splashed water at Gideon’s face, rinsing them off.

For a moment, Gideon considered splashing Harrow back, but seeing the froth at the top of the bathwater beneath Harrow’s nipples gave her a better idea. She sudsed up her hands and brought them to Harrow’s chest.

“Oh,” Harrow exhaled with a little shiver. Gideon could tell she was fighting the urge to move from her crouching position to sitting, covering herself past her shoulders, but she didn’t move as Gideon paid special attention to her pebbling nipples.

For a few moments, Gideon massaged them, noting they were a bit less than a handful each--the ideal size. But the bubbles eventually reduced to nothing, so Gideon just played with Harrow’s nipples thoughtfully, earning some pants and high-pitched gasps. 

Harrow pushed Gideon away and grabbed a bottle of soap, covering her chest with it. “Try this.”

Gideon’s eyes widened. She couldn’t believe Harrow was inviting her to touch her, especially like this. Head spinning, her hands returned home to Harrow’s breasts. 

It was much better with the soapy liquid. Her hands slipped and slid around Harrow’s pale skin, and Gideon decided she’d be completely fine doing this and nothing else ever again. This hell-inspired bathroom was her own personal heaven--just Gideon and Harrow in a bath with the blessing of soapy boobs. 

Eventually, Harrow had enough of the massage and pushed Gideon’s hands away. She grabbed a different bottle, rubbing her hands together before putting them in Gideon’s hair.

Gideon closed her eyes as Harrow’s careful hands rubbed her scalp, then kneaded through the longer strands of hair. She was so relaxed that the moment Harrow’s lips met hers, she stumbled and slid down the tub.

“Sorry,” Harrow muttered as Gideon got back up, sputtering. “I just...got lost in the moment.”

“It’s fine. Suppose my hair is rinsed now,” Gideon added with a laugh. “But seriously, you don’t need to be doing all of this.”

Harrow glowered. “I want to.”

“Why?”

“Because you’re my cavalier, and I’ve been waiting to touch you for over a year.”

Gideon supposed that was a fair answer, but she was a little intimidated by Harrow inching ever closer, their knees touching under the water. Swallowing, Gideon changed the subject. “I noticed you put salt in the bath.”

“It’s good for muscle pain. I figured you’d be a bit sore, given what you went through.”

Gideon smiled. Harrow was as clever as ever. “But is there another reason?”

Harrow worried her lip, eyes downcast. “I suppose we should talk about things.”

“Then let's.” Gideon reached out to her necromancer. “I’ve got all the time in the world.”

--

After hours of filling each other in, the bathtub became quite cold. Gideon didn’t notice it at first; something about Harrow made everything feel uncomfortably warm, so the cooler water helped her dizziness. But frail little Harrow began shivering, so Gideon decided that was enough emotional catching up for one bath.

“You’re freezing. Let’s get you out of here.” Gideon climbed out of the bath and grabbed a fluffy black towel to wrap her necromancer in.

Shaking, Harrow stumbled out of the tub, almost tripping over the edge, as it was a bit tall for her. Gideon wrapped her up in the towel like a burrito and used the opportunity to embrace her.

For a while, Gideon just held Harrow in her arms, gently rocking her back and forth and kissing the top of her head. Eventually, Harrow turned around and rested her head on Gideon’s chest, and they stood in the bathroom in silence.

“Do you want to come to my room?” Harrow asked. Her voice was thick, almost sleepy, as though being held by Gideon was lulling her to naptime.

“I’ll come with you anywhere,” Gideon said.

Harrow pulled out of Gideon’s embrace and threw a spare towel at Gideon to dry off with, then took her hand. “This bathroom is connected to my room.”

“I figured. No one else here would decorate a bathroom like this.”

Harrow frowned at her. “Ambiance.”

“I know, I know.”

Harrow’s bedroom was about what Gideon expected--macabre, dark, and full of way too many bones. Books decorated most of the blackened walls, overstuffed on precarious shelves. There was a desk covered in various flimsy with sloppy handwritten notes of theorems, and some others with drawings Harrow instantly ran over and shoved into a drawer.

Gideon was determined to ask her about those later.

For now, she pretended she didn’t see anything and studied the rest of the room, which was taken up with a wardrobe full of all-black clothes and a massive bed--far larger than anything Harrow would need on her own. The bed was covered in a black, gauzy canopy, held up by posts that looked to be made of human femurs, all fused together with necromancy. The head and footboards were, too, made of congealed bone.

“Did you make this yourself?” Gideon asked.

Harrow nodded, but she seemed fidgety and uncomfortable. “Once I moved in with Blood of Eden, I got a bit bored, so I thought I’d make something...special for us.”

“For us?” Gideon quirked an eyebrow. 

She felt a slow grin spread on her face. Harrow made a bed with her cavalier in mind, and that made Gideon absolutely elated. Or giddy, even. She internally laughed at her own joke.

Suddenly, Harrow changed from merely fidgety and awkward to angry. “I can’t take this anymore!” she shouted. Her little hands were in fists again. She marched ever closer to Gideon, chin up to meet their eyes with a burning gaze. For a moment, Gideon thought she was angry, but then she realized the mottled flush to her cheeks and neck.

“Take what?” Gideon asked, blinking a few times. Heat crept up her neck as she assumed where this was going.

Harrow gave her a shove. Harrow wasn’t very strong, hardly strong enough to knock Gideon over, but Gideon obliged and fell onto the bed.

Harrow climbed on top of her and met her eyes with an angry gaze.

Daring to be cheeky, Gideon grinned and said, “What are we doing on the bed, Harrow?”

Harrow grabbed Gideon’s face and pressed a long, firm kiss to her lips. “You’re mine, Gideon.”

“I know. One flesh, one end, and all that.”

“And I’m going to make you remember that you’re mine tonight.” Harrow lifted her body, putting her weight on either knee and crawled over Gideon.

As Harrow’s mound came closer to Gideon’s face, her heart raced. She wasn’t sure when she first thought of eating Harrow out; perhaps it was the first time she saw a Naughty Nuns of the Ninth!!! Issue, or maybe one of the times she tackled Harrow and had pinned her down on the dirt ground of Drearburh. Either way, it had been a once-shameful thought that haunted her for years, and now, it was real.

Harrow’s swollen, pink slit hovered inches above Gideon’s lips. She reached over to pull Gideon’s hair, pulling her head forward. “Eat.”

Gideon loved eating. She found herself to be quite good at it, and eating Harrow was no exception. She let her tongue take long, broad strokes along the swollen, soaked slit, savoring all of her lyctor like a fancy dessert back at Canaan. She didn’t necessarily taste like a dessert--she was a little bit too tart for that--but as far as Gideon was concerned, she’d never eat a sweet again if it meant tasting more like Harrow.

Harrow shuddered at her touch, gripping Gideon’s hair tighter. “ Ohhh , Griddle, you’re so good at this,” she mumbled. Her hips twitched with every stroke, and that gave Gideon an even better idea.

When the tip of Gideon’s tongue met Harrow’s swollen, exposed clit, Harrow practically yelled, stumbling forward and nearly falling off the edge of the bed. Laughing but not wanting her necromancer to get hurt, Gideon held her by the hips and adjusted so Harrow could put her hands on the headboard as she grinded against Gideon’s mouth.

And grind she did. “ Fuck , your tongue!” she shouted, hips shuddering with every stroke. She released Gideon’s hair and gripped the bone bedframe with as much might as she could, using the rest of her remaining strength to absolutely use Gideon’s face.

Gideon was thrilled, to say the least. Fluids spilled down Gideon’s chin and onto her neck, and with the sudden change in flavor--less tart, more musky--Gideon sensed that Harrow was nearly at her peak.

So Gideon went bold. She reached over and held onto Harrow’s shaking hips, aiding her movements. Harrow’s moans turned into something desperate, almost animalistic, until she finally released with a frantic, “ Gideon!”

With Harrow leaning forward, Gideon could get a glimpse of her breasts and the most beautiful orgasm face she had ever seen. The paint had long washed off in the bath, and all that was left was her tiny, pointy face, cheeks flushed and eyes scrunched closed, mouth open. She almost looked a little angry, but when her eyes opened again and she looked down at Gideon, there was nothing but bliss and love deep within the amber.

She peeled her crotch off of Gideon’s face, but she was still shaking. Gideon expected her to curl up in her arms and snuggle, but she made a beeline for Gideon’s waist instead.

Gideon said something really intelligent in response to her hands on her dick. “Um.”

It wasn’t that Gideon wasn’t hard--she was. She felt like she was about to melt all over Harrow’s hands if she kept caressing her like that. 

“Please, Beloved,” Harrow said, hovering over Gideon’s waist as she stroked. Her molten core was hovering just inches above her, ready to take her inside her. “I need you inside me.”

“I…” Gideon struggled to catch her breath. “I don’t think I’ll last long.”

“Neither will I.” She positioned the head against her slit, still slick from her previous orgasm and Gideon’s saliva. “With your permission?”

“So formal,” Gideon chuckled. “But yeah. If you’re sure this isn’t weird or something.”

Harrow pressed her lips in an irritated line. “Griddle. I ground on you like a harlot. I sat on your face. How is this any weirder?” She sighed, rubbing the head against her clit. “I want to be...one with you again.”

Despite the blurriness in Gideon’s eyes and the desperate urge to burst, she felt that was awfully romantic--very different than her original aggressive taking of her. She understood what Harrow meant, too--loving someone so much they wished to be whole together. 

This seemed like a much better way to do it without John’s idea of a lyctorhood.

“Okay. At your pace, though. I don’t want you to hurt yourself.”

“I won’t.” Harrow held Gideon’s dick in place and slowly began lowering herself on it. 

Gideon couldn’t help but wonder if Harrow had pleased herself like this before, imagining some bone dick construct she made as Gideon instead. But as she felt Harrow’s wet warmth around her, she couldn’t dwell on that thought anymore.

Gideon didn’t dare move. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to. She wanted nothing more than to hold onto Harrow’s hips and pound into her, drawing out those lovely moans and beautiful face from before. But Harrow always looked so small, so fragile, even on top of her. She didn’t show any signs of struggle or pain, though, even as Gideon filled her up. 

Gritting her teeth and emitting a shaky breath, Harrow slowly began to ride her. Gideon let her hands rest on Harrow’s outer thighs, giving her little encouraging rubs and squeezes. Harrow began to move a little faster at that, holding a hand on Gideon’s abs for balance. This gave Gideon the brilliant idea of finding Harrow’s ass and grabbing onto the cheeks, digging her nails into her flesh as Gideon began to dissolve. With the fluttering of Harrow’s walls around her, it seemed to be the right thing.

“Goddammit, move , Griddle,” Harrow hissed.

Feeling about to die, Gideon asked, “You’re sure?” 

Harrow thrust her hips downward as a response, bringing Gideon in ever deeper. It took her breath away, and Gideon grit her teeth to remain quiet. It was an old habit from her days masturbating in Drearburh--grit the teeth, bite the knuckle, anything to distract her mouth from making a sound. 

“No.” Harrow leaned forward. “I want to hear you.”

Gideon dared an upward thrust, and Harrow whined, leaning back and grabbing onto Gideon’s legs for balance. The sight of Harrow all exposed and how deep she was inside her necromancer made Gideon emit the smallest of moans, and Harrow’s eyes sparkled.

“That’s a good girl,” Harrow purred, rolling her hips a little.

Gideon thought she was about to lose her mind. She felt herself drool a little as she continued pushing herself in and out of Harrow. Her mound looked delectable, taking all of her in, and with a gasp, she added a bit more force to her thrust, bouncing Harrow on her lap.

Oh , you’re so good at this, Gideon,” Harrow managed between moans. Her voice was getting a bit higher, breathier, a warning of an impending orgasm. “My good girl…”

Gideon was absolutely ready to be the best girl.

Realizing Harrow wasn’t about to break, she placed her hands on Harrow’s hips and pushed her downward, just to add a bit more friction. The pace they were at was hardly gentle--it was a steady pounding, and even with the thick, congealed bone that made the bedframe, it was starting to shake with the force Gideon was using on her.

Harrow’s nails dug into Gideon’s legs. Eyes scrunched shut and mouth agape, she made the loudest sound Gideon had ever heard her lyctor make.

FUCK!

Gideon couldn’t hold it anymore. As Harrow’s walls squeezed around her. Gideon felt herself release, filling Harrow with her warmth. She heard another noise as she came, something lower and a bit louder, and it took a moment for Gideon to realize that was her . Her lips were repeating, “ Harrow, Harrow, Harrow, ” as though if she didn’t say it more, she’d forget her necromancer.

But she never would.

It took a moment for their momentum to die down. Harrow looked absolutely exhausted, with her dark hair sticking to her pale forehead and her eyes half-shut. She lifted her hips to allow Gideon to pull out and rolled onto her side, held by one arm by Gideon.

For a long while, neither said anything. Harrow traced her thin, spindly fingers up and down Gideon’s sternum, likely wondering what her bones looked like or something equally Harrowy. Her eyes were warm and full of love until her eyelids eventually drooped, her hand resting on Gideon’s heart.

Gideon turned her head to press her nose to Harrow’s head, breathing in the Harrow smells of soap, bone dust, and old books. She wasn’t quite sure where she was, but home was where the Harrow was, and that was all that mattered to Gideon.

Eventually, Gideon’s arm began to cramp, and she shifted, which woke Harrow up. She leaned on her elbow and stared at Gideon with a curious smile--something devilish and carnivorous. 

“I have something for you.”

Gideon quirked an eyebrow. “What is it?”

Harrow slid out of bed and headed for the wardrobe, disappearing in its darkness momentarily before returning with a pile of black fabric, a bottle of a clear liquid, and what looked like a bone.

“It seems to me,” Harrow began in her regular bossy tone, “that you’ve forgotten your place as my cavalier.” 

She organized the strips of fabric. Gideon began to put together what was happening as Harrow slid the bone through the center of the widest piece and slipped the fabric over her hips. 

“When you were fucking me, you began to take control of the situation. But you’re not the one in charge here, are you, Griddle?” She tightened the straps, as if it emphasized her point. “You’re my cavalier. My sword. I’ve waited for so long for this, and I will cherish and wreck you as I wish.”

Gideon sat up a little. “Hang on. Is that bone ?”

Harrow looked at the phallus and frowned. “Yes. Carved and softened with necromancy. Adolescent’s play, really.”

“So you’ve made bone dicks before?”

Harrow gave her a playful smack on the arm. “Focus, Griddle!”

Gideon refused to focus. “I see you’ve got a real boner , huh, Harrow?”

Harrow groaned and hung her head. “I’m not gonna fuck you in the ass if you act like this, Griddle.”

Gideon blinked a few times. Her mouth hung open. “Wait...in the ass?”

“Where else would I put it? Where else would remind you that you’re mine?”

Gideon shivered at the thought. There had been times back in Drearburh--what now felt like centuries ago--when certain suggestively phallic objects came with her magazines, and a curious Gideon made good use of such objects. There may have also been a time, which Gideon would’ve denied to her death day, that she imagined Harrow was on the other end of the toy, criticizing her for whatever delinquency Gideon was up to at the time. It was an ongoing fantasy, really--one that Gideon wasn’t ready to admit until now.

Feeling a pulse in her core, she said, “Fair, but you still haven’t explained why you have a bone dick. Did you plan this?”

A blush appeared on Harrow’s cheeks as she lifted her head. “I mean. I wanted to be...prepared for any situation. I figured if we got, ah, intimate , then this would come up, yes. I did craft it with your body in mind, but I also assumed if we didn’t end up like this, I could always find other uses for it.”

A wide grin spread on Gideon’s face. “So you do fuck bones!”

“Griddle!” 

Gideon chuckled. “Well, come here, then. I wanna see what you’re working with, my midnight mistress.”

With a sigh, Harrow hopped back on the bed, shuffling her way over to Gideon, who spread her legs in preparation.

Gideon reached for the dildo with one hand, noting that it genuinely was rather soft--not the porous, almost spiky feeling of the bones Harrow used in her constructs, but something nearly rubbery and smooth. She felt it warm up with her touch and decided she was rather comfortable with that being inside her.

Harrow leaned forward, and Gideon fell back on the pillows, watching her necromancer intently. She coated her fingers with the contents of the bottle, which Gideon noted was some sort of lube.

“I’m going to prepare you,” Harrow said in a high, almost clinical tone, as though she were preparing Gideon for surgery and not anal ravaging. 

“Sounds good,” Gideon mumbled. She was shaking, and she wondered if Harrow noticed. Did Harrow know this was a long-brewing fantasy of hers? What would Harrow feel like inside--

Oh.

Harrow had rubbed the entrance a little before giving it a nudge with the tip of her finger, and it slid in with ease. Gideon felt her legs quiver as she gave tiny thrusts, easing herself deeper and deeper each time.

Fuck , Harrow, have you...done this before?”

Harrow looked up, eyebrows raised. “No. You’re my first, Griddle. But I did some research.”

She curled her finger a little, and Gideon nearly squealed with delight, so she momentarily covered her mouth. When she earned a glare from Harrow, she dropped her hands to the sheets.

“Wait you... fuck, Harrow, there! ...you researched anal sex?”

Harrow paused, her finger halfway inside her, and said simply, “Yes, there were plenty of books on the matter to be found from Coronabeth.”

“Coro... please keep going or I’ll die again, Harrow ...why did Coronabeth have…” She could barely focus on sentences anymore, with the prowess of Harrow inside her. “Why did Coronabeth have books on buttsex?”

Harrow gave her a smirk and an eyebrow quirk as she eased another finger inside. “Why do you think , Gideon?”

Gideon wasn’t sure if she wanted to know. “Third House shit?”

“Surprisingly, no.” She made a come hither motion, and Gideon’s eyes slammed shut. She could’ve sworn she saw stars. “She got them from her House, of course, but she got them for me.”

“Coronabeth wanted us to…?” Gideon’s voice came out in tiny pants.

“Naturally. The Third House is all about romance and debauchery. As soon as she caught the gossipy wind of me having more than...platonic feelings for you, she gave me all she could on romancing cavaliers. She was quite excited about it, really. But do you want to talk about Coronabeth, or do you want to be fucked in the ass?”

“The latter,” Gideon managed.

Slowly, Harrow pulled her fingers out, then grabbed the bottle again, pouring the lubricant over her bone dildo. She inched forward, and Gideon brought up her knees to help.

“Not like that.”

Gideon frowned. “Why not?”

“I want you on your knees when I take you.”

Gideon shivered. This was what she had fantasized about for all these years, on her knees or flat on her stomach, with the phantom concept of Harrow pounding into her. Eager to oblige, Gideon scrambled onto her hands and knees, but she still turned to look at Harrow over her shoulder.

Harrow looked frustrated for a moment as she assessed between Gideon’s legs.

“What’s wrong, my penumbral lady?”

Harrow said nothing. Instead, she grabbed the pillow from her side of the bed, put it between herself and Gideon, and kneeled upon it. “Better.”

Gideon couldn’t help it. She laughed. It started as a little giggle, then turned into roaring laughter. Harrow looked annoyed for a moment, but she grinned too as she leaned forward, brushing the tip of the dildo against Gideon’s entrance.

Gideon’s laughter turned into a gasp. 

“Are you done laughing at my height?”

Gideon nodded, a smile still on her face. 

“Good.” She pushed forward.

Gideon, in her excitement, leaned toward Harrow to give her a bit more leverage. She knew she shouldn’t be too eager, as she didn’t want to accidentally tear something, but something about Harrow being this close to her, leaning over her with the help of the hilarious pillow, was thrilling. She was set aflame, lava coursing through her veins as Harrow slid in gently, their hips meeting.

“Is this okay?” Harrow asked. Her hands were on Gideon’s hips, holding her closer.

Fuck ,” said Gideon, intelligent as ever.

“Good girl. Seems like you’ve done something like this before, haven’t you, Griddle?”

Gideon’s cheeks flushed. She couldn’t respond with words as Harrow began a regular but gentle pace. 

“I controlled everything that came in and out of Drearburh when my parents died,” Harrow noted. “And I mean everything . Food, medication, supplies...and your dreadful magazines. How do you think the toys got there, Griddle? Did you think they were a bonus item?”

Gideon moaned and gripped the sides of the bed. She wondered if she was capable of ripping the sheet with her bare hands. 

“I got them for you,” Harrow said. She thrusted a bit more harshly, deeper into Gideon for emphasis, and Gideon emitted what was nearly a scream. “I wanted to know what you would do, and of course, at the time, I wasn’t in a position to...talk about how I felt.” She dug her nails into Gideon’s skin. “I know you used them. I know you liked them. It was impossible not to hear you when I made my nightly rounds. So yesterday, I thought if my theorem worked and you came back to me, I’d give you the reward you’ve always wanted for being such a good girl. A good cavalier.” Harrow leaned forward, resting her hands on Gideon’s shoulders. “ My cavalier.”

“Yours,” Gideon agreed. It was the only word she could manage.

Harrow seemed to like that very much. She was panting a little, and Gideon wondered if she was getting off to this, too. In a sudden frantic motion of passion, Harrow gave Gideon’s back a shove, and Gideon let her, landing flat on her stomach.

“You’ve always been mine,” Harrow growled. She clenched her little hands against Gideon’s shoulders, gripping her tightly as she picked up speed. “Even before you knew it. Even before I recognized it. And now you’re mine forever. My perfect cavalier. My life. My beloved.” It was as though she wasn’t fully in control of herself as she pounded into Gideon. She laid on top of her back, her small breasts against Gideon’s slick skin, and it was almost too much for Gideon just to feel her necromancer there.

This was close to Gideon’s fantasies when she toyed with herself in her cell, but she never expected Harrow to be this romantic. It was better this way, and it was leading her to spill over the edge.

Harrow ,” Gideon managed. “Harrow, I’m--”

“Then come for me, my beloved.”

Gideon came with something between a roar and a scream. She felt as though Harrow had ripped her soul from her body again, but in the best way possible, and she was soaring above them, watching the scene from on high.

It took awhile for her to come back down. She felt Harrow gently pull out of her and set the supplies aside. Harrow gently rolled Gideon on her back and cleaned her and the sheets up with a washcloth, but Gideon barely felt it. Then the bed shifted as Harrow climbed between the sheets beside her.

“Don’t ever leave me again,” she said, voice feather light--jarring in comparison to her speech earlier.

Gideon rolled over to face her lyctor. Her eyes were shining with tears, and Griddle wrapped her arms around her. “Everything I do is for you, my sepulchral queen. I would never leave you.”

“Never again?” She inched closer, a delicate hand on Gideon’s cheek.

Gideon didn’t reply with words. She pressed her lips to Harrow’s trembling ones and held her close. When Harrow emitted a shuddering sigh, Gideon pulled away and began stroking her silky black hair. 

“You did destroy me, alright,” Gideon said.

Harrow’s eyes sparkled. “I’m a woman of my word.”

“You’re really not. You’re an evil scheming queen of darkness. Not that I don’t love that, by the way.”

“I’m a woman of my word to you ,” Harrow corrected. “But I’m glad. I have...so much love to give you, Gideon Nav.”

It was the first time she heard her full name out of Harrow’s mouth in ages, and it made Gideon hold her tighter, bringing their foreheads together.

“Then show me. We have all the time in the world.”