Fighting is just like fucking, Gideon of the Ninth thinks, and blesses every magazine of impractically-armored Cohort captains for setting that association up early and proper. Or — and here she twists her hand into Harrow's overgrown hair, pulls it down sharply as Harrow yelps — fucking Harrow is just like fighting.
"When you spent your teen years snickering about about me sleeping with my sword —" Harrow's elbow makes contact with Gideon's sternum with an audible thump and Gideon gasps, doesn't let go— "was it because you were trying to get your spiny elbows into my bed?"
Harrow slams her head back and Gideon loosens her grip when her knuckles crunch into the wall, on reflex. ("Never let go", Aiglamene's voice says, an unpleasant thing to hear when you're making out with the heir.)
"Be careful, you want these little ladykillers to still wor—" and Harrow jams her small, sharp, pitiful knee in between Gideon's legs and Gideon, helplessly, grinds forward onto it without hesitation. Gideon does attempt, briefly, to reassert herself. She leans Harrow into the wall with a forearm, wincing at the sharp little collarbones, like fucking fangs, does Harrow eat, but — it doesn't work, not when all Harrowhark needs to do is twitch her leg and Gideon is panting and twisting on it. Fucking panting, for fucking Harrowhark, who has a knee that through three layers of cloth still feels better than every touch Gideon's ever had (Gideon's hands, true, is the sum total here, but both of those. So two kinds of touches, really).
"No," Harrow says, calmly enough, only the barest hint of roughness, "I knew you weren't imaginative enough to figure out anything else to use." And then she pulls her knee away and slaps at Gideon's cunt like a shock and Gideon feels, quite unexpectedly, like screaming or blacking out or begging for Harrow to do it again.
"Sorry, you —" and in a rare moment of cogency (possibly stupefaction, fine), Gideon doesn't say the very first thing that comes to mind (because Harrow needs not to be mocked about a frozen girl right now, not because Gideon is still vibrating from the, again, slap she just enjoyed to her cunt, obviously) "— were using, what, bones for your pubescent —" and Harrow taps again, the sensation of Harrow's palm reverberating through Gideon. Why the fuck is that good, Gideon thinks, and, damn, does that mean Harrow is winning?
That can't go on. Gideon steps away and Harrow grins toothily until Gideon pulls her away from the wall and past the cavalier's cot — bone dust slipping underneath Gideon's boots — and pushes the bird-boned off-balance necromancer onto the bed. Harrow's lips are smeared with heavy clay; Gideon's neck streaked with gray from where Harrow's pink flush now shows. Harrow's teeth scrape over her bottom lip, and Gideon doesn't know what to do with the strips of blood-flushed skin left exposed; stands there watching Harrow's tongue touch to the divot of her lip, stands there trying to feel her way past the awe.
She rips Harrow's shirt off.
Harrow squawks and Gideon ("What did you think I was going to do, idiot?") straddles her and strokes all the skin of her fine lovely chest; unpainted, mottled with color. Harrow's ears are pink, and Harrow's neck is coming up deep red with bruises from Gideon's mouth, and Harrow's tits are shadowed with blue under Gideon's thumb, although—small, no? and it must show, because in her usual nagging voice Harrow says "Gideon Nav, do you know what normal proportions are? Your Second Cohort fantasies would have skeletons warped into uselessness by the weight of those — those —-" And Gideon (although, yes, she hadn't thought about it) leans down and takes one (round, bumpy) nipple into her mouth and between her teeth and Harrow shuts up for once.
Well, almost. Harrow whispers "Fuck," actually, and Gideon feels tremendously satisfied. Gideon Nav has wanted new territory to explore for her whole life, and Harrow's body on the bed is hot and arching for her.
Gideon palms Harrow's ribs in one hand; rolls into each tender little hollow with her thumb. Seven down, seven on the way back up. She presses against Harrow with an open mouth, leaves slick wetness behind to watch the goosebumps on Harrow's belly break into existence and fade away. Gideon estimates Harrow's arms as even smaller than she'd thought -- at best a 1/3 the size of Gideon's.
By the time Harrow's pants are involved, Gideon feels like she might be dreaming, instead — Harrow's hand restless on her neck and stroking through her hair, Harrow's too-hot too-alive too-thin flesh. Gideon digs her thumbs in above Harrow's belt and pauses; Harrow's long-fingered hands unlatch the belt (Gideon's eyes, tracking this from a few inches away) and push down everything that isn't Harrow. Gideon can't breathe past her jumping heart. Her hands tremble.
"Do you want me to show you?" Harrow says, from far away. Gideon nods, once, twice, furious at failing like this, furious and trembling and wide-eyed, as Harrow brings a hand up. Harrow spreads her legs, and spreads her fingers in her black-thatched hair, uses just her long index finger to trace herself. She must be doing this for Gideon's benefit, the way she goes so slow, and Gideon's mouth is paper-dry. Harrow's finger dips in and out, slowly circles herself. Harrow never touches anywhere too long or too hard; Gideon is unsatisfied for Harrow, unwillingly impressed all over again by her patience. (Gideon has never managed to last longer than a few minutes, with either hand, or both. Three kinds of touches! Tremendously boring, when you could be not bored sooner.)
Harrow sighs, like a woman who could do this for days without batting an eye, and Gideon doesn't have days, she wants Harrow to break now, she's always wanted Harrow to break, and she's sure if anyone can, it's Gideon Nav. She isn't here to watch, is she?
So Gideon drags her eyes off of Harrow sliding two fingers inside herself, eels up Harrow's bony little body. Gideon places a hand on Harrow's; feels the rhythm of Harrow's slowly pumping fingers. She stutters at first, when she takes over; annoyingly breathless. Her fingertips are slick, slick with someone else. That's new. But Harrow whimpers when Gideon presses harder; sword callouses rough, dragging the slightest amount. Harrow presses her hips up; Gideon presses in and down with her two fingers, matching Harrow's pushes; circles a thumb right along the little nub where Harrow'd circled. She swears she can feel Harrow's heartbeat coming through her fingertips. Harrow's blood rushing to Harrow's whimpering little noises; her little gasping "Gideon, fuck, Gideon, do something—" Harrow's hands clenching on Gideon's shoulder in jerky spasms as Gideon slides her third finger in and up and past the bone of Harrow's pelvis and into the little space behind the bone and rubs harder with her thumb and Harrow's whole body clenches up and in and ("Breaking my goddamn fingers one way or another, huh?") Harrow is locking her legs shut around Gideon's hand and shoving up against against against with her eyes screwed shut and her breath stopped and her back arching up and Gideon's whole rib cage lit up with lights and Harrow gasps for the first time in minutes, seems like, and shudders, and gasps again; and Gideon with her.