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A Grain of Sand

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Mike turns to leave Honor's day cabin. She keeps her hair in tiny plaits - easier in zero-G, she'd laughingly told Honor when they were still at the academy, than anything else, short of shearing herself the way Honor did then - and they swish as she turns away from Honor.

Honor's not entirely sure what possesses her to reach out in that moment. But she does, and Mike lets her. Lets her grab hold of her arm, and stop her from leaving. There's been something cold in the core of her since Paul died, and for some reason it's chosen that moment to crack, and before either of them really registers what's happening, Honor tilts her head and kisses her best friend.

The kiss is .... the kiss is everything she's been searching for. As much as she'd tried to sublimate this - and oh, how she'd tried and come close to succeeding with Paul - she'd been wrong to. She'd already been - deeply, madly and completely - in love with her best friend, since well before she'd finished falling in love (and hate) with her white beret at Caisimir. Perhaps since before she'd even - formally - been a queen's officer, a spell woven in the halcyon days at the Academy before Pavel Young and her midshipwoman's cruise on the War Maiden.

She'd been stupid to try and back away from this, this glory.

Mike's teeth nipped at her lower lip, demandingly and her own lips parted without the need for conscious thought, and their tongues tangle, chests heaving as they try - and fail - to remember how to breathe while kissing.

This, this was like the best battle high, the moment before you had to look and see what your own damages were, and instead only knew that you'd survived - that you'd won.

This was worth living for, and damn the consequences.