When she steals that kiss from Harrow a veritable tidal wave of bone chases after her. Skeletons half formed jostle with humanoid perfection jostling against scuttling things that would haunt a normal person’s nightmare’s if Harrow hadn’t been sending them after her since she was able to stand. She laughs as Harrow screams insults and threats after her, she glances back and can see the blood sweat all the way from down the corridor. Pausing just long enough to give her the one finger salute, Gideon peels around the corner only to crash headlong into the armored legs of Marshal Crux. His grin as the skeletons in miniature grab hold of her is appropriately evil and toothless. Still though aggravating Harrow and making her flush near black by stealing her first kiss at 13 is price enough. At least until Harrow’s little boots start kicking her sides.
Okay so- kissing Camilla is weird. Not a bad weird but a good weird. In fact a very, very, very good weird. Cam has a habit of pressing their lips together like she’s studied the book Ten Thousand and One Ways to Kiss Your Partner and mastered ten thousand and two of them. It's a good kiss, mainly because Cam will push Gideon down onto whatever is close by- a ratty old bed, a chair or a table; hell the floor is good enough sometimes. She’ll perch herself in Gideon’s lap before bringing them together, Gideon softly groaning when Cam’s tongue runs through her mouth; inquisitive and searching (not like she didn’t have the exact contours of it memorized after the first one but still). It's when she lets Gideon thread her hands on her back, fisting her shirt; when she lets Gideon kiss not just her lips but her neck, enjoying the quiet way Camilla says her name that Gideon feels something pang in her heart.
Abigail, much like a mother who hasn’t realized her child has grown up quite yet, plants a welcome home kiss on Gideon’s cheek. She scowls with remnant teen angst while her siblings groan and wail at their foster mother turning her gleaming eye on them for their turn. “We only went to the movies!” Gideon says and Abigail looks at her in a way that can still shock her. The parental affection is something new to her, something she’s beginning to view as precious. “I missed you three.” is all she says before patting Gideon’s cheek. She feels loved and tries to ignore the hot sting of unshed tears.
J udith Dueteros-
She presses Gideon against the nearest wall and holy shit- presses one on her. At first she doesn’t know how to react cause holy????? Shit????? But she recovers enough to make an attempt. She finds Deuteros to taste of cordwood, of a certain tang of ash. She almost convinces herself she can taste the confusion on her lips, the way she moves her mouth with ritual pantomime against hers. She lets a hand fall to Judith’s waste and brings her in closer, ignoring the sharp jab from Judith’s unseen hand into her side. When the Cohort trio pass them by and enough distance for those scuffed up boots to be fading away into the night Judith steps away from her like she’s a house on fire. Gideon catches her breath for a moment before simply staring at her. “You have no military discipline.” She says as if that is enough explanation. And they move on into the night.
“Come here Gideon…” The sound is thready and weak, a rasp to the woman’s voice. Gideon can no more ignore that sound, that command then she can sprout wings and fly. She sits in the sole chair in Dulcinea’s sick room and lets her take her hand. She feels how weak the grasp is, the avian feel of her fingers gently holding her. She feels uncomfortable, like she shouldn’t be here, like there’s some other version of her present right now and there’s an urgent need for her to leave and do something else. Some smell brushes her nose and it smells of chemicals and charcoal but when Dulcie looks at her with those aqua eyes marred with pain and longing it vanishes. “What a specimen you are. What a person you could become…” Dulcinea brings her hand to her lips and kisses Gideon’s bare knuckles. She flushes worse than when Coronabeth did it, this sets her heart pounding loud enough that even the undead in Canaan House must regret being around to hear it. Dulcinea laughs and there are enough besotted feelings in Gideon Nav’s heart to miss the sole note of coldness in that laugh. “My, My dear Gideon, if simply kissing your hand makes you flush whatever will you do when I kiss the rest of you?”
Okay so mark Gideon Nav for one of the luckiest women in the Empire. Escape the Ninth House? Check. Join the Cohort? Double Check. Become a big enough hero saving one of the Princesses of Ida that she kisses you in public at the awarding ceremony? A thousand million checks. It's a kiss that can light the entire Ninth she thinks afterward when enough of her comes back to reality to actually have a brain. She’s forced to mingle in the after-party though which helps to bring her crashing down. Person after person comes up to give the same rote compliments even the several supremely absurd necklines of some of the women attached to older Cohort officers like barnacles aren’t enough to make the drudgery any better. Up until at least the Princess comes back into her life saving her from an absolutely interminable conversation about how the political power of the Third is waxing strong yada yada yada. She can only focus on the Princess, on the cream yellow top she is wearing with the first couple buttons left open, just enough to leave her jaw uncomfortably hanging as she follows her necklace into her cleavage. Her eyes snap up when the Princess smiles at her though, that megawatt attention back on her. She effortlessly gets her harassing coterie away from her and Gideon simply enjoys watching her talk. When her attention is back on her Gideon smiles, silently doing a victory dance when she sees the Princess blush the tiniest bit.
“You know…” The Princess begins “I really cannot thank you enough for rescuing my ship. The Emperor knows what my sister would do without me. I mean, do you know she once emptied a servants eye socket simply because I had a sleepover without her?” Gideon resolved to never go near the emaciated twin lurking at the far end of the room, nursing a supremely heavy looking goblet full of what Gideon could only hope was rat poison. She started as the Princess idly teased her fingers at the filigree at her elbows feeling unaccountably vulnerable. “I do mean that by the way and forgive the kiss I was just compelled on a flight of fancy over how handsome my rescuer was.”
Gideon pondered that for just half a moment before doing something completely insane. She let her free hand, the one that she had been crisply keeping behind her back take hold of the Princess wrist. She was pleased beyond all measure when instead of affronty or complaint the Princess let a cool fire burn in her eyes. Holding that gaze was next to impossible but Warrant Officer First Class Gideon Nav was very good at impossible. She brought that wrist gently to her mouth and placed the ghost of kiss against, The Princess now going fully flush.
“If my lady would permit me I would thank her for the honor of that kiss.”
“Oh I think the lady just might. And call me Coronabeth handsome, I want to hear how it sounds in your mouth.”
She didn’t exactly picture this as her first kiss. Stuck inside Harrow’s body, wandering around aimlessly bereft in grief. She was dead and now she was her and Gideon didn’t know how to cope with that. She tried drinking but that only numbed things, numbed them for too short a time. She’d get as drunk as possible, imbiding so much that even Mercymorn, had she been alive to mock her; might have found it impressive. Instead she just drank or alone or increasingly- with the only Lyctor left alive on the damned ship. They hated each other sure but bound to the Emperor for one reason or another they were all they had. This, this toxic and terrible moment of Ianthe tilting Harrow’s chin up and brushing her mouth against hers, ignoring the way tears leaked from Harrow’s eyes. The way Gideon would use Harrow’s spindly arms to grasp onto Ianthe in intoxicated anger and lust, the way Ianthe would hiss that shitty nickname for Harrow as Gideon bit her neck. This was all she had. All they had. And it would be a myriad or more before she would forgive herself for it.
She wasn’t Harrowhark Nonagesimus anymore. She’d dropped the name that felt like a title. She even dropped the “-hark” part of her name for reasons Gideon had a hard time sussing out until Harrow explained it to her in the dead of night while she held her.
“I need to be- I want to be your Harrow. I want to measure up to the me you see when you look at me. When you tell me you love me. When you help. I want to-” Here Harrow struggled for a moment, her brow furrowing, the tears she’d been crying just moments ago forgotten. “I want to be the person you always want to come home to.” Gideon couldn’t help herself, she’d never heard anything more tender, more yearning in her entire life. She pressed the first kiss to Harrow’s head, kissing that unruly mat of ill-cut hair she had now. And when Harrow made a noise that no longer embarrassed them both in the back of her throat Gideon tilted her chin up and kissed her on the lips. Softly and with tenderness until Harrow surged into her, desperately pushing against her. Gideon surged back in, meeting her deepening for deepening, allowing herself to get lost in the sensation. When they parted she wasn’t entirely surprised by the way Harrow’s hand was fisted in her shirt nor the fact that her own was deep up Harrow’s.
“Listen to me Harrow. You’ll always be the one I want to come home to. You know why? Because you are my home.” And before Harrow could do much more than blush and squawk at that Gideon was kissing her again and they lost themselves in the night.
When they woke up the next morning the first thing Gideon did was kiss the inside of Harrows sleeping wrist. They always wound up like this, Harrow jetpacking her, arm wedged underneath her in a way that had to be uncomfortable but Harrow never made mention of. It was nice, Gideon reasoned, to be the one being held like that; to feel safe and secure even in Harrow’s scrawny arms. It made kissing her like that all the easier. As she peeled her away from her carefully so as to not wake her, she suffered the same affliction she did every morning. Namely the hard pang of love when she stood on the side of their bed (a thing that she still had comprehending that it was their shared bed) and watched Harrow curl into herself to try and replace the comfort of holding Gideon’s body. She leant over and pressed a kiss to her head, murmuring a good morning against it. She had work to do around the house though, wood to chop, animals to feed; Harrow often spent her time now catching up on the several decades worth of sleepless nights by sleeping usually till noon if not later. But it was worth it for both of them. It was worth it cause they were in love.