She straddled Ichabod's hips still in her jeans. She liked her jeans. She liked that she could run in them and they had pockets. She liked the way Ichabod looked at her when she wore them.
She had been afraid when she had been pulled from purgatory that things had changed, that there would be too many secrets and too much darkness between her and Ichabod to ever get back what they'd had. Or that two years in this loud, glittering, modern world had changed him too much. Ichabod skimmed his fingers along her bare back, his eyes distant for a moment.
"What are you thinking of, my love?"
"I was recalling our weeding night, how I fumbled with your laces, pulling the knots tighter, and later kissed the marks the laces and boning had left in your skin."
"I believe I fumbled with the buttons on your trousers that night."
Ichabod's hands slid down her body to the top button on her jeans. "My how times have changed."
Katrina liked jeans and beds with springs and little bits of rubber that let her enjoy pleasures with her husband without the worry of getting with child.
Katrina liked Thai food. It was the first thing she had eaten in this new world, cold and leftover in Miss Mills' kitchen.
Miss Mills brought it to the cabin in clear bags and strange white boxes. They had stacks of books and files to go through, the three of them that night. They turned on the electric lights. Ichabod still felt more comfortable in lamp and candle light when it was just the two of them.
"And a double order of pad thai for Mrs. Crane."
"Thank you Miss Mills."
"And larb gai extra spicy for the other Crane."
Miss Mills never called her husband anything but Crane. He always called her Miss Mills or Lieutenant, sometime Lieutenant Mills if he was irritated. Except once in the throes of a nightmare he call out for Abbie.
They ate and went through books and files. Sometimes they talked and other times they went hours in silence.
Katrina thought she might be jealous. Miss Mills was her husband's friend and sister in arms for nearly two years before she was lifted from her nightmare of centuries. She and Ichabod had not been married much longer than that before his death. But there was no jealousy, only a thankfulness that Ichabod had found a friend and guide to keep him safe and stand by his side, even if that should have been Katrina's job.
Ichabod was not badly hurt, only knocked out. Katrina emptied Ichabod's weapon into some creature. She liked and hated these new pistols. They were lighter, faster, and so much more accurate, able to fire a dozen bullets in a matter of seconds. She also hated them for they were lighter, faster, accurate, and able to fire a dozen bullets in a few seconds.
When the villains had fled or died she and Abbie rushed to Ichabod's side. Abbie on his left, she on his right.
"Come on you dumbass, wake up. We have had this talk. You do not get to damage that 'I remember everything' brain of your."
Ichabod's eyes opened slowly. "Beautiful," he whispered with a slight smile.
"Okay, come on Crane, get your ass up and let's get out of here before those goons come back with friends."
Katrina helped Ichabod to his feet while Abbie gathered up fallen weapons. He looked down at her hands. There were marks pressed into her palm and fingers where she had gripped the pistol tighter than strictly necessary.
He kissed them. "I am sorry. You should not have to take up arms for my safety."
"I saved you from death once, I will do it as many times as necessary."
He kissed her hand again.
"Hey, love birds, save it for later."
Days go by, some too fast and others too slow. She found she liked nearly all Asian food and learned to use chopsticks, a skill which eluded Ichabod and left her and Miss Mills in tears of laughter at his attempts.
She found a new meeting house to attend when time allowed and her spirit desired. The one she was raised in was burned before the war had ended.
Miss Jenny came by some Fridays. She always brought pizza and beer. Katrina was a third child so understood the important duty of a younger sister to embarrass her elders.
"Come on Crane, a witch, a cop with a criminal record, and a demon fighting head case. Admit it, you're just a pretty boy who likes hanging out with the bad girls."
Ichabod blushed even as he tried to sit up straighter in defense. "I did not know Katrina was a witch until I was dying."
"No, just a rebel against the empire. Hey, have you seen Star Wars yet?"
"Only episodes four, five, and six. For some reason I am not allowed to view one, two, and three."
"You got something against Jar Jar?" Miss Jenny asked Miss Mills.
"No, I got something against Anakin being a whiny little bitch for three movies."
It still happened, moments when Katrina completely lost track of a conversation but it hardly seemed an important one. The relaxed look on Ichabod's face confirmed that. She watch her husband's face as he watched the sisters lightly bicker. He took a sip of beer and his eyes slid down along Miss Mills body. Not for the first time Katrina knew. Only when he thought no one was looking and his own sense of propriety was lowered by exhaustion, alcohol, or adrenaline. She also knew despite the desires that live in the hearts of men he had been faithful.
She took a bath that night, still such a luxury. Ichabod sat on the edge of the tub pouring warm water slowly over her hair. He always looked more real in lamplight. She looked down at her own body. Parts of her had become harder over the last few months and other parts softer. "It was nice having Miss Mills and Miss Jenny over tonight."
"It was. I fear I sometimes miss a position that required association with larger groups of people."
Katrina smile. "I'm afraid I do not miss being an officer's wife. Playing hostess to half a regiment on little notice was never easy."
"I am sorry for that."
Katrina just hummed and let her mind wander as Ichabod dribbled warm water across her body. "Miss Mills looked quite attractive this evening with her new haircut."
"I hadn't notice."
"Yes you did. You always notice when you think no one can see." Katrina felt no anger. It was hard not to notice Miss Mills. She walked into a room and her presence owned it as surely as Ichabod's.
Ichabod froze. "I have always been faithful to you. Always."
She took Ichabod's hand. "I know."
They collapsed on Abbie's couch, weak with exhaustion, her apartment far closer than the cabin. Ichabod took the middle, Abbie his left, and Katrina his right.
"I swear I hurt in places I didn't know I had. Shit, it feels like they're just throwing low level goons at us nonstop. Trying to wear us down."
"If that is their plan I am afraid it may be working."
Katrina's eyes felt like they were full of grit and she closed them for just a second. When she opened them light was peeking under the heavy curtains that covered the room's single window.
Ichabod had slipped sideways in the night his cheek now resting on top of Miss Mills' head. Miss Mills had flung her arm across Ichabod leaving the back of her hand inches from Katrina's face. The knuckles were swelling where they had been grazed on someone's teeth. They should have been cleaned before they all slept.
She leaned forward and pressed her lips to them. The was no magic in the act, just an instinct towards a childish gesture. She looked up. Ichabod's eyes were open. He smiled ever so slightly before closing them again.
That night he carefully mapped every bruise on her body with his lips before leaving fresh ones on her thighs the size of his fingers.
Miss Mills saved Ichabod's life again, the cost being a deep cut along her ribs. Ichabod pressed his shirt to her side to keep the blood in. Katrina asked to watch as the wound was stitched. It was something she had done a hundred times before and she wondered if that to had changed. The needle was finer as was the thread, and there were gels to dull the pain and prevent infection, but in the end stitches were stitches. She felt it was still an act she could still perform if it was need.
Ichabod insisted that Miss Mills come to the cabin to recover. He hovered by her side, tending to her every whim even when she insisted she could do something herself. He changed her bandages twice a day as the doctor ordered, and if his fingers lingered on undamaged flesh a moment longer than needed everybody pretended not to notice.
It was only a few days after those stitches were removed that Ichabod and Miss Mills were in another fight coming at the end of long days of research and hunting. Katrina arrived in time to hit the last of the fleeing villains with a brick. In the abandoned building Ichabod and Miss Mills stood facing each other, breathing hard and surrounded by the bodies of the slain. Miss Mills crouched down to scrape an amulet off the floor. Ichabod never took his eyes from her. She recognized the look that slid across her husband's face and a heat rushed through her.
"I'm going to make us some coffee. "
"I would have thought you would desire rest, Lieutenant?" Ichabod asked.
"If we sleep now our sleep patterns are going to end up screwed. Better we stay awake for at least another four."
"I am forced to agree."
Miss Mills went to the kitchen and set the kettle to boil. Katrina sat on the couch. Ichabod took the middle. "You should go to her, my husband." She kept her voice low enough that it wouldn't be heard over the hiss of the gas stove and the water beginning to boil.
"She is very particular about how her coffee is made, I would not be welcomed."
"I do not mean in that manner. You should go to her bed, or take her to yours."
Ichabod sat straight up from his slight sprawl. "I would never! If you should think I was ever unfaithful I can assure you…"
"I know you have been faithful. I know you carry me in your heart and always will, but you carry her as well."
"Yes. Well. It is… different."
"Not so different. I see the way you move around her in your courtly manner, though she doesn't recognize it for what it is. And I see the looks you give her when you believe no one can see."
Ichabod swallowed hard and fixed his eyes to her cheek, not meeting her gaze. "And what looks are those?"
"The look of a man when breeding, knowledge, and courtly graces are stripped away. The look you gave me when you walked me to the woods, lifted my skirts, and took me against a tree not twenty paces from General Washington's tent. I nearly bit through my hand keeping silent."
Ichabod flushed nearly as scarlet as his old uniform, his eyes snapping down to his hands neatly folded in his lap. "I apologize deeply for that. It was beyond inappropriate and beneath the both of us."
"I did not mind." She slid her fingers beneath Ichabod's chin lifting his head until he met her eyes. "She has taken no peace nor comfort in these years when it would have been most desired. And she does desire you."
"She has never-"
"No. For she is as honorable as you."
The stove was turned off and the low rumble of the water in the kettle quickly faded. There were little domestic sounds of jar lids and spoons clicking against mugs. "Go to her, Ichabod."
His face looked pained. "I would never take any action to harm you, body or soul."
"And you would not. I have no jealousy in my heart. Only a deep desire for peace for all of us, even if it is just fleeting moments."
"Here we are." Miss Mills balanced three mugs in her hands. "Black and bitter for Crane, milky and sweet for Mrs. Crane, and black and sweet for me." She took the side chair closer to Katrina than Ichabod.
Katrina wrapped her hands around the mug warming them before taking a sip. It was another thing she liked about this new age, coffee that wasn't boiled in the bottom of a tin pot. She looked over to Ichabod who was silent and examining his coffee as if it would tell him the secrets of the universe.
"Miss Mills, would you take Ichabod to your bed, or allow yourself to go to his?" She heard Ichabod choke.
Miss Mills blinked at her. "Wait, what? I… What?"
"He desires you and you desire him. For all that you have been through, darker days are coming, and no one should be alone."
"Hey, I swear I never touched your husband outside of keeping his blood in his body."
"I know. You are both honorable but that does not change the way you look at each other when the other is looking away."
"Okay, I think I missed the beginning of this conversation or lost track somewhere."
"Ichabod is true to me, but he is also true to you in his own way."
Miss Mills looked at Ichabod and Katrina turned to look at her husband. They bore the same expressions, desire buried under honor and fear.
A flash of a thought, more of an image came to her. She turned and leaned forward, pressing her lips to Miss Mills. It was only for a second, less than the span of a breath before she pulled away. Miss Mills sat frozen, her lips parted and her eyebrows raised. She leaned forward and kissed her again.
Katrina had lain with a woman before. A cousin long ago when the world still seemed to be at peace. They pressed their bare bodies against each other and nuzzled at each other's breasts. All other thoughts had been quite in those moments. Miss Mills moved her lips and shared her breath. Katrina pulled away and they both looked at Ichabod. All graces and civility was gone from his eyes but there was still hesitation.
She kissed Miss Mills again. Ichabod would catch up. He always did. Eventually. They were leaning forward at a strange angles cramping Katrina's shoulders. She stood pulling Abbie to her feet and wrapped arms around her, tilting her head back. She wasn't used to being the taller one.
She heard Ichabod moan. The sofa creaked as he stood. It was only a handful of steps to their bedroom. She glanced at the bed, it would be a tight fit but not impossible.
Miss Mills slipped her hands under Katrina's shirt and settled them around her waist. It wasn't as narrow as it once was; held tight each day by heavy laces and whale bones. Her eyes were as strong and wild as Ichabod's that day in the forest. Ichabod tried to reach out to her. "Wait your turn Crane, she made the first move."
Ichabod chuckled low. "As you wish, Lieutenant."
"Your wife just kissed me. I think that puts up on a first name basis."
"Only if you call me Ichabod." He stepped close again, this time sliding behind Katrina and kissing her neck. There was one spot that only he had ever found that weakened her knees and any lingering sense of propriety.
She sat on the edge of the bed pulling them all down. "You ever done this Mrs. Crane?"
"Katrina, and yes, once, long ago."
"Really?" Ichabod mumbled his lips still pressed to her neck.
"Yeah, been a while for me to. I think I remember some advanced maneuvers though." Abbie's hands slid up and under Katrina's shirt. Her fingers brushing the thin cotton of the undergarments women now wore. In turn she brought herself back to Abbie's lips. In pretty poetry they might have been rose petal soft but in truth they were dry from the chill in the air and still tasted of coffee.
She felt Ichabod back away and heard the rustle of fabric. She turned and saw him strip off his coat and shirt until he was down to his t-shirt. The blue-black of older bruises on his arms stood out sharply against the white of the t-shirt and the general pallor of skin.
"When did you get those, Cra… Ichabod?" Abbie gestured towards the bruises with her chin.
"Last week I believe. I fear we will all have bruises."
Katrina slid her hands under Abbie's shirt to run her fingers along the fresh scare. Abbie leaned into the touch despite the fact it almost certainly hurt.
"Yeah, I think we all have a few."
Abbie kissed her again, they let their hands rove before carefully peeling off each other's shirts.
Every so often Ichabod stroked her hair or kissed her neck. Abbie always kissed the same spot a moment after, quickly learning her body with her husband's guidance.
Abbie reached behind her with one hand and she felt her bra become lose. The tiny hooks were something she still fought with on a daily basis, missing the simplicity of laces. "How did you do that?"
Abbie grinned. "Just give each side a little squeeze."
Katrina reached her hands behind Abbie even as her own bra slid from her shoulders. Whatever technique Abbie possessed was not something Katrina would be able to learn in the moment she realized, and the hooks stayed firmly in their loops. Abbie laughed and simply pulled the irritating little piece of clothing over her head.
Ichabod pressed himself along her back. She knew his eyes would be firmly on Abbie. She remembered the first time they saw each other bare and was sure he would have a similar look. She brushed her fingers across the marks where the elastic and wire had pressed into the skin.
"Better than a corset I'm guessing?"
They stripped off the rest of their clothes quickly but neatly for they were not fumbling youths. She ran her fingers up Abbie's legs. "So smooth?"
"Yeah, societal conformist, that's me." She turned to Ichabod who was kneeling on the bed in only the last of his underclothes. He looked as though he was trying to speak but only rapid breath passed his lips. "Got something to say, Crane?"
"I think we broke him. Good to know."
Abbie grabbed Katrina's chin and turned her around bringing her in for a kiss before guiding her onto her back. Abbie broke away from the kiss and began to move down her body. Her words fled as surely as Ichabod's as Abbie nipped at her breasts and blew warm breath across belly. Then she stopped and looked up.
"So, did Mr. Prim and Proper ever do this?"
"Do what?" Ichabod asked.
Abbie spread her open and dipped her tongue in. Katrina jumped. It was like a shock of ice water that just for a moment managed to freeze and burn.
"Miss Mills!" Ichabod exclaimed. Katrina tilted her head back to see the look of complete shock on her husband's face made stranger for being upside down.
"I'll get you two a copy of The Joy of Sex later."
"The Joy of what!"
Abbie licked at her again. This time Katrina was braced for the shock of sensation and dug her hands into the sheets. Abbie didn't stop this time and Katrina felt the shock of ice become fire. It built low in her, familiar yet more intense than ever before. Her nipples began to ache as they hardened and she found it near impossible to open her eyes.
She grabbed Ichabod's hand and dragged it to her breast. "What is she doing to you?"
Katrina shook her head for she had no words and the vibrations of Abbie's low chuckle rolled like distant thunder up her spine. The fire in her became nearly an ache working down her legs until her toes curled to a tight point of their own accord. She gripped at Ichabod for that was the only control of her body she had left. He may have been speaking, she was distantly aware of his voice but her sole though was of Abbie's tongue focused on one, tiny point of her body.
Abbie sped up and slipped her fingers into Katrina. They were long past the splendid warmth Ichabod gave her and well into a terrifying unknown fire. Abbie's fingers curled tight within her and Katrina was lost. Her body was gone beyond her control. She could not breathe to scream. There was only a crash across her body or something beyond pleasure, pain, or anything once known to her.
Abbie slowed and backed away. Her body twitched and her insides clenched at nothing. Ichabod swam into her vision, his face a mix of lust and panic. "Katrina?" His voice was hardly a whisper. She smiled.
"Don't worry Crane, she's just fine."
"What exactly did you do?"
Abbie smiled. Katrina watched as she guided Ichabod's hands between her legs while giving him instructions. "Bit to the left. A little firmer. Oh, right there." Abbie's body rolled and stretched as Ichabod watched in fascination. In the end she rolled Ichabod onto his back and moved herself on him ever so slowly until he was all but screaming for his own release and grasping wildly at the both of them.
Katrina likes the future. She likes not wearing skirts every day and the prawn summer rolls from Sleepy Hollow's newest Vietnamese restaurant. Abbie buys them The Joy of Sex. Ichabod can't look at it for more than two seconds before flaring bright red, but he doesn't seem to mind Katrina reading it to him by candle light.
She knows some days Abbie and Ichabod throw each other against walls, leaving each other with finger bruises and bite marks. Some days she and Abbie kiss, make out Abbie calls it, while Ichabod pretends to read and not notice. Some days they sit together, watch Star Wars, eat Thai food, then fall into bed taking comfort in each other while the seven-years of tribulation drag on.