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higher, further, faster

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Shuri hasn't slept since half the universe turned to ash.

It's sort of like what happened after Baba died, when she'd locked herself in her lab, spending days poring over every chink in the Black Panther's armour. She'd replayed the security footage of the explosion over and over until her brother's blurred image was permanently etched under her eyelids.

When she gave T'Challa the upgraded suit, she thought she'd never lose him again.

Then he'd been swept away by the waterfall. For once, Shuri was at a loss of what to do. "There's nothing you could've done," Nakia told her. Rules were rules. T'Challa couldn't wear the suit.

"But we can do something now," the spy had added, when Shuri had asked what next?  "Instead of locking yourself away. You don't have to accept him as King, not like Okoye."

It's those words that run through her mind now, now that her brother has disappeared. Her mother's been busy with stabilizing the throne in the aftermath, Okoye and Nakia both away on missions Shuri doesn't have the clearance to know about. There's a bit of pride that thrums within her when she thinks of Wakanda and its unwavering people. Thanos' creatures had done some damage - but hadn't even broken through the forcefield-  and they'd lost half their population like every other nation, but Wakanda always bounced back.

There were successes to work from, indeed, but Shuri's interests lie elsewhere. 

You don't have to accept this, she reminds herself.

T'Challa and half the universe weren't dead. They couldn't be. They hadn't died, really, just disappeared from this dimension.

The rest of the world is still in the early stages of dealing without half the population. Electricity is still out in most countries. Shuri spent the early days doing her best to make sure the most vulnerable weren't put at further risk, sending aid to her outreach locations across the world. 

She hasn't gotten touch with Banner, and Stark is still missing. Besides, while she values the Avenger's input, their minds were still limited to Western knowledge constructs she'd mastered long ago.

She reaches out to her colleagues across the globe, but most of them are working on solutions to more pressing problems. Energy. Food. Data. Security.

Shuri is alone in her pursuit of a solution. 

You don't have to accept this. She'd done her duty, as princess to her people, made sure they would be secure for decades to come. But Shuri wasn't going to sit around and wait for others to decide to change things. She will do this alone, if she has to.

She reads. Reads everything, anything about the Soul Stones. Even manages to talk to Thor long enough that even in his grief he imparts some wisdom.

"Remember," he says, remarkably human, "magic is just science you don't understand." She takes his advice seriously, adding mythology and folklore to her piles of readings. Anything that might give her a clue, might spark an idea. 

That's how Danvers finds her - head in hands, reader in her lap. 

"I hear," the captain says, "you're the finest scientist Earth can offer." 

She raises her chin, and in the other woman's eyes sees the warm defiance she recognizes from the mirror.

"I am."