Three days until they reached the planet she was supposed to meet the Skrull envoys at. In just this time, she'd seen more beauty than she ever imagined. Planets she never even knew existed, ruby nebulas, and so many stars through the velvet black space.
Is this my home? she thought, her fingers splayed on the glass.
Earth was nothing but a distant blue dot on the horizon. Everything she'd known was so far away, but she should feel peaceful about this, right? She was going to her homeworld. She wouldn't be a freak there. Except, maybe she would, because she'd been raised a human girl and had no idea about the Majesdanians.
Years ago, Karolina felt right, secure in the world. There was just one niggling crack, but maybe if she focused on other things, if she worked hard enough, the world would set back in place. But it didn't, the crack spread until all her deep secrets were bubbling up.
She wasn't human, she didn't like guys—well, not like that—she wasn't normal. How many times had her parents lied to her? How many memories could she look back on and not wonder if every business trip her dad wasn't scoping out the next sacrifice?
But here–here, maybe there was something new, past the wreckage of her life. Sure, it could go all wrong, but Karolina tried to be hopeful, even when the world was crashing down about her.
She ran her tongue over her teeth. "Xavin?"
"What is it, love?"
"Can you tell me a little more about the planet—where we're going?"
"Your home world? I do not know much about it, for we have been at war, and the data collecting has been sparse at best and only when one of our agents can infiltrate their world. I can bring you the holofoils if you wish," Xavin said.
"That'd be good," Karolina said. " One more thing....Do...do you think they'll like me?" Karolina said. Her shoulders slumped, and she looked away, unable to face Xavin's devoted gaze. She didn't know her, but she seemed to care so much.
"If they do not, then they are worthless, as anyone is who would ever reject you," Xavin said with a ferocity of a trained warrior.
"You keep talking like you know me..." Karolina began. She stopped. She didn't want to seem rude, but with the way Xavin was going on, she was beginning to wonder if she had amnesia and they'd known each other all along.
"I was informed of our engagement from a young age, and was given a small set of information about you. I kept it close, and you gave me hope when I had almost been killed in battle... And you gave me something to live for when my family died."
Xavin paused a moment, her head bowed in what Karolina thought was a silent moment of respect for her family.
"I felt as if I have known you, for I have practiced what I would say a thousand times, kept your picture close to my heart. If I have acted wrongly, I apologize, love. I am not familiar with your ways. I have made many missteps, but I will study your earth ways so I will not offend you."
Karolina lifted her gaze until she met Xavin's. All she saw there was love. It made her blush, and her heart beat faster. She'd never had anyone like this, someone who would kill for her, die for her and even live for her. It was all just really intense and overwhelming.
"How about a deal? I'll teach you some earth manners, and you teach me how to not offend your people, and we'll make it even," Karolina said.
Xavin took her hands in her own. "I will do my best, love. Manners are not my strong point." She gave a wry smile, and Karolina couldn't help but laugh.
For how fierce Xavin had seemed at first, her touch was very gentle. There were a lot of gentle sides to this proud warrior who had traveled from across the universe just to meet her, who had loved her all this time.
Karolina barely knew Xavin, but she liked everything she'd seen...well, other than the fighting her friends, part. But that was mostly clueless to Earth conventions on Xavin's part.
She wasn't in love with Xavin yet, but she could feel herself falling a little more every day with each grand gesture or show of tenderness. Soon they'd be married, and maybe then everything would make sense in another world, back with people she was supposed to be.
She looked back at the stars, to where that distant blue dot, the only place she'd ever known as home was. She still missed them, and it welled up in her with a force she didn't realize.
"We'll visit, right?" Karolina said, her voice barely above a whisper.
She bit her lip, waiting for the moment of why would you go back to that second rate planet? but it never came.
"If you wish to honeymoon there, then I would gladly go. However, there is a galaxy full of places I wish to take you, such beautiful planets and vistas–" Xavin cleared her throat. "I've been planning this a long time, saving up places I thought would be especially romantic for you."
Karolina smiled. This was her new life, but she wouldn't have to leave them behind entirely. We'll meet again, she thought as she turned away from the window and back to the navigation system. This time, she'd look to her future instead of lingering on the past.