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Twin Suns

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The light from the setting suns bathes the surroundings in a warm glow of hues of purple, red, and yellow.  A light breeze ruffles the tall grass near where they sit in an oasis of green, speckled through with tiny white flowers that don’t exist on Earth. Despite the beauty of it, Bruce finds himself mesmerized by Natasha.

The fading sunlight shines in her red hair, a coppery glint. Her expression is soft, the faintest of curves to her lips.

“When you said you wanted to take me somewhere,” she says, “I pictured a secluded island, or maybe one of the less touristy bits of Europe.”

“Yeah, well,” Bruce says. “Thor owed me a favor.”

“Must be a pretty big favor.”

“He’s Asgardian royalty, so.” Bruce shrugs. “Dropping us off here doesn’t really put him out.”

“Interplanetary road trip, here we come?”

“Something like that.”

Natasha’s gaze settles back on the twin suns. “I did tell Barton I wanted a vacation.”

The pause is less awkward than it could have been. Bruce is thinking of an offer, laid out and discarded, and of a solo flight taken without warning. Thinking of the could-have-beens never did anyone any good, and he thinks maybe things were always going to go this way. Natasha did what she needed to do and Bruce did what he needed to do.

And now here they are, light years from Earth and everything tying them down.

Well, almost everything. Some things can’t be escaped, not even with a spaceship.

“I thought it would be…” Bruce hesitates. “I just thought you might like to see something that’s new and foreign and--” Beautiful, Bruce wants to say, but that sounds trite.

Someplace with no baggage, not for either of us, somewhere that can be a start, but he can’t say that either.

Natasha shifts over almost imperceptibly, so that her arm presses against Bruce’s. She feels warm and real in a way that Bruce isn’t used to any longer.

“I like it,” she says, and they watch the suns disappear beyond the mountains.