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The Heavens' Embroidered Cloths

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Carol tried to deflect the missile, but too late.

Wanda fell toward the Earth, and Carol chased her, hair not displaced and feeling no drag in this airless place.

Chaos magic could shift a lot of odds but not, Carol thought, enough to allow a human to survive decent from low Earth orbit with just a spacesuit to protect her. Or could she skip off the atmosphere and back out into the dark? Carol didn't know, so she speed down, her body a missile too now.

Their gloves touched just as Carol started to feel the heat on her face. Wanda had been reaching up for her, face upturned like a flower to Carol's sun, the glow of their fall reflected in Wanda's visor. Carol's gentle tug, just enough to slow Wanda's momentum, brought them together, chest to chest, and Wanda circled her waist as Carol started to pull them out of their decent.

"I got you," Carol said, knowing her voice would carry over the suit helmet, and that the local comms wouldn't make it back up to the rest of the Avengers.

Wanda smiled, unconcerned it seemed by the five years she'd just taken off Carol's life. "Yes. You always do."

Not knowing how to respond, Carol frowned and put more energy into pulling them up, gently sliding momentum to relative stillness, before beginning to draw away from the Earth again. "It won't be long," she said to fill the silence.

"Of course," Wanda replied, her voice dreamy and far too calm for what had almost happened, "we're still falling, even when everything looks as though it's still. The stillness is falling down and spinning away at the same time."

"Orbital dynamics are a bastard," Carol agreed. They were settling out and could start to hear the crackle of team comms. It was just mop up now, Carol thought. If she slowed down a bit, she could kick into a higher orbit, and catch up there. Then she could put Wanda on a spaceship, and not have to worry half so much.

The worst thing about invulnerability was that it didn't apply to anyone else. The worst thing about space was everything that could kill a human, which was most of it.

"Not long now," she said again, this promise more to herself than Wanda.

Wanda tugged at her sash, wordlessly pointing down.

Carol looked: the sun had set, casting half the world in darkness. A string of lights ran up Japan and the Chinese coast, thinning over Kamchatka, and leaving a near-black sea across Siberia and up to the snow-lit arctic.

Green flickered across the horizon, a candle flame ten thousand metres tall. As they watched, it spread, flame to flame, a light passed and shared to circle the top of the world. Each flame reached higher, topping itself with pink, and fading to white at the roots. Within a few minutes, light had filled the skies of low Earth orbit.

Wanda put her gloved hand to Carol's face, the touch sparking against the air bubble Carol held around her. Carol knew that had the visor not been between them, Wanda would have kissed her there amid the flames. Now they kissed with finger tips and eyes, and sped out of the aurora and into the black.