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i marvel at the stars and feel my heart overflow

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Brunnhilde’s never been a sound sleeper.

When she was a member of the Valkyrior, she didn’t have any time for sleep. She had to remain constantly on guard, all her senses primed and ready to go to war. After her sisters were murdered and she’d scratched and clawed her way to survival on Sakaar, she found little use for sleep. More often than not, Brunnhilde drunk herself into a stupor. Very rarely, she blacked out. But she’s never quite been able to find comfort in sleep.

She finds very little comfort in it aboard this ship, squeezed in amongst the frightened and the injured, headed toward an uncertain future.

She’s managed to find enough space to spread out a blanket, but not enough room to lie on it. So she sits and leans against a wall and closes her eyes, but still sleep evades her.

“Your eyes are closed but I know you’re not sleeping,” a familiar voice hisses in her ear.

Brunnhilde reaches out and catches Loki by the collar. “What is it?” she mumbles, feigning drowsiness, keeping her eyes shut, not willing to give him the satisfaction of being right.

“We’re nearly there,” he whispers, his voice slithering like snakes—she remembers the tale Thor told her about their childhood—and he gently disentangles her fingers from his collar. “The sun is rising. A new day is dawning.”

Brunnhilde pops one eye open and glares at him as best she can. “I’m sleeping.”

“Let’s watch the sun rise together,” he says, flashing her a sharp grin.

“Oh, fine.” Brunnhilde stands, taking care not to kick or jab anyone as she gets up.

She lets Loki take her by the arm, his pale fingers resting over her tattoo, and he weaves them expertly in and out of crowds of bedraggled, sleeping Asgardians.

They stop by a massive viewport and Loki points, tapping a finger gently against the glass.

“Isn’t it lovely?” he asks, letting go of her arm.

Brunnhilde stares out at the sunrise: a sliver of bright light peering over the horizon. It’s breathtaking in its beauty. Brunnhilde thought she’d grown beyond simple pleasures, like a sunrise, but something about the sight twists in her chest like a key in a lock.

“It’s beautiful,” she murmurs quietly.

She turns just as Loki splits the difference and leans in, his cool lips brushing across hers. One of his hands comes to rest on her hip while the other still rests lightly over her arm, his thumb rubbing in gentle circles over the tattoo.

Brunnhilde’s first instinct is to knee him in the balls and push him away, but she nudges that reaction aside. This is actually kind of nice. She hasn’t had nice in a long time. She hasn’t wanted to have nice in a long time, until she met Thor and Loki. What have they done to her?

Brunnhilde responds to the kiss, pressing into him, one hand sliding up to cup his pointed chin. She digs her nails in lightly and feels his smirk against her lips.

“Don’t think, not for one minute, that I’m gonna go all soft on you now,” she says, letting go of him and giving him a wink.

Loki grins back at her. “I wouldn’t dream of it.”

Brunnhilde turns and gazes back out the window, feeling Loki shuffle closer until their shoulders are brushing.

Somewhere, on this little blue-green rock materializing before their eyes, is her future.

Brunnhilde steals a look at Loki by her side.

And maybe her future is right beside to her too.