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Making It Up As We Go

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He doesn’t spend much time in his quarters, but gets to know the innards of the ship very well, those first few weeks. There’s something about the idea of sleep that makes him feel vaguely... unsafe. He does his best to avoid the decks where the people are housed. Does his best to avoid people entirely, as a matter of fact, but especially during ship’s night. He has the oddest feeling that getting to close to anyone in the dead of night might wake his sleeping demons on the world.

The only person he sees consistently is the Valkyrie, and she’s usually in one of two places: either in the officer’s lounge, raiding the wet bar, or else on the bridge with a drink in her hand. Loki is wary of her fists and anyway he’s never been a big drinker. Just another way he’s different from everyone else: he’s got the alcohol tolerance of a sparrow. So he avoids the lounge and the bridge at night, and sticks to the navigation deck. He pours over maps and star charts, ransacks the ship’s mediocre library, and goes through endless cycles of combat exercises in the gym-cum-sex dungeon. He knows he has to sleep sometime, and if he’s lucky, if he exhausts himself enough, maybe he can keep the demons asleep long enough to get some rest of his own.

One night, the Valkyrie is waiting for him on the mat. “Need a sparring partner?”

“No.”

“Good, me too.” She lashes out with a foot to his jaw before he has time to think of a sarcastic reply, and all he can do is react. And react, and react. Holy shit, she’s fast.

Finally they drop to the mat, flat on their backs, gasping and sweating. His hair is a rat’s nest. She’s at right angles to him, with her head pillowed not-very-comfortably on his chest. “Well,” Loki manages, after a bit, “I hope that was good for you.” Valkyrie lets out some noncommittal noise. It might be a laugh, he’s not sure. “What brought that on?”

“I needed something else to do besides drink, or else the ship’s going to be dry long before we reach Earth.”

“We’ll figure something out. Maybe we could rig up a distillery.”

This time she definitely laughs. And he wonders if perhaps the Valkyrie has demons she’s trying to keep dormant, too. Hence all the alcohol.

“We need to get up,” Loki says, not moving.

“Mhmm... I could do with a shower. Care to join me? We could have some fun...” she murmured, before nodding off.

“Oh,” Loki sighs, slipping into a deep, dreamless sleep, “that sounds... lovely...”