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Behind the Locked Door

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Harrow twisted her hair up into a bun as she came back into her apartment from the balcony overlooking the Tatoi forest. Her hair had gotten long in the six months that she and Gideon had lived in Greece together but she was in no particular rush to cut it. She had never been permitted long hair growing up, and Gideon thought it was pretty.

That kind of logic explained most of their decorating, Harrow reflected, absently scratching Lucky behind the ears when the golden retriever padded over to her, tail wagging. The dog was Gideon’s, a rescue from a shelter and one of their first major acquisitions as a married couple. At Gideon’s insistence, they had gotten Harrow her two promised lizards the next day: bearded dragons that Harrow had named Lucifer and Lovelace. Their terrarium was, by lizard standards, luxurious, and boasted an ornamental human skull (artificial) as well as some plantlife (authentic) from their native climate in Oceania. 

The rest of the apartment was furnished with an eclectic mix of posters and artwork, computers and gym equipment, dog toys and video games, as well as a music collection that would take a year just to listen through once. Harrow and Gideon’s apartment was a warm medley of their personalities and Harrow still had not gotten used to just how wonderful it felt to come home to it. Almost as good as it felt to come home to Gideon herself - or to be there and welcome Gideon when she came home, as she was right now. 

Hey Babe!” Gideon called, a moment before the door shut with a bang. Lucky bounded through the apartment to tackle Gideon, who laughed and indulged him as always. 

“How was your class?” Harrow asked, waiting her turn for kisses. There was no use trying to cut the line in front of a dog. “Did you do your test today?”

“Hell yeah, I did!” Gideon got up from where the dog had laid her low and pulled out a purple jiu-jitsu belt from her satchel. “Check me out, I can teach the intermediate class now!”

“Congratulations.” Harrow gave her a kiss, unsurprised but still proud of Gideon’s ongoing success in the three local fighting schools. Gideon’s goal was to be a ‘certified badass’ in as many forms of combat as she could, and part of that entailed teaching, as well. She was especially good at teaching children; it was heartwarming to see how invested she got in the success of her own students. 

Harrow had gone to the gyms to lurk and watch her spar or teach a few times, but had never participated in the classes herself. Gideon said that was fair, though, because while she liked to watch Harrow do coding contracts and robotics research, she never helped with that either. They complemented each other well. Harrow cleaned, Gideon cooked. Harrow kept close ties with an international group of rebels and Gideon befriended every local she met in town. 

And every now and then, there was even a task that required both of their expertise. “I got a message from Teacher,” Harrow said, taking Gideon’s bag so Gideon could take off her sandals. “You’ll have to free up your weekend.”

“Oh dang, do we have an assignment from the nerds on high?”

“The Warden requested us specifically,” Harrow said as Gideon pulled her into a hug. “You and your nanosword need to get me into a remote robotics facility in Sicily. Sound good?”

“Hell yeah! As long as Pro doesn’t mind watching Lucky and the lizards for us. When do we leave?”

“They’ll pick us up in the morning,” Harrow said, a smile curling her lips as she guessed why Gideon was asking. “Plenty of time to celebrate before we pack.”

“Thank god,” Gideon said with feeling, leaning down to scoop Harrow up in her strong arms. “Because I really want to celebrate you right now.”

“You’re the one we’re celebrating tonight, idiot!” Harrow hung on, trying not to giggle. 

“You can celebrate me on the couch, and I’ll celebrate you out on the balcony -”

“Griddle!”

“And then we can celebrate each other some more in bed! I ordered delivery. It’ll be here in an hour.”

“My hero.” Harrow leaned up and kissed her Cavalier, letting the gym bag fall to the floor. “I love you.”

“Love you too, my Dark Queen of Robots.”

“Then lock the door,” Harrow said, “and let’s go celebrate.”