Author's Note: Welp. I. Um. I'm posting this chapter now because I can't sleep and I am bored and overwrought with lots of feelings. I graduate from high school tomorrow. Or today, depending where you currently habitate. Graduate. I am not a child anymore. I have to go on to college (NYU! Woo!). It's all very scary and exciting. Man, I don't know. I'll just get on with the chapter I promise, and I shall sit here with my thoughts. 

Norse Proverb (from a handy mythology book I just got) :

"To a good friend's house

The path is straight

Though he is far away."

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I open my eyes and at first I cannot see anything. I panic, assuming that I am blind. Must be. I feel a hand, warm and soothing against my face, brushing through my hair.

“Valkyrie,” the word is a whisper and I know the voice better than I know my own. “Can you see yet?”

I don’t answer right away, just trying to feel him—his voice, his hands. I reach up and my hands find their way blindly to his face and I smile. Somehow, I feel better. He brings me a sort of comfort I am not sure I know how to express properly, because I cannot understand it myself.

My sight starts to refocus, and the whiteness dissolves into shadowy shapes. I feel like I should feel sick, my head verging on pain, but it isn’t there. I feel…good. I feel healthy. More so than I have felt in a very long time. I blink my eyes a few times and I can see Loki smiling down at me, a truly happy and bright smile and I smile back at him. He holds my hands and leans down to kiss my forehead, but I move my head, my lips meeting his. I throw my arms around his neck and pull him down onto the bed, holding him close to me. I close my eyes tightly, enjoying the feeling of his lips against mine in a kiss that feels like relief.

“Would you do me a kindness by never getting hurt again?” Loki asks against my lips with a slight smile.

“Trouble seems to find me! I can’t help but get hurt!” I try to explain but he cuts me off with his lips again.

“Yes, let’s see. An arrow to the shoulder, which, narrowly missed your heart, and managed to sever your axillary artery…a failed attempt at poisoning…Thanos,” he hisses the name, “and let us not forget when you managed to tumble from the library balcony!”

“That is a lot of injuries, now isn’t it. I should be dead,” I say quietly. I furrow my brow. “You forgot a few, I think.”

He pauses from tracing my jawline with his lips to look at me and arch an eyebrow. “Oh?”

I smirk, “When you broke my goddamn nose, or how about the handful of times you tried to choke me?”

He is quiet for a while and he lets his hand fall away from where it rests against my collarbone. There is true sadness in his eyes and I almost regret mentioning it. But that is not something I can simply ignore when I see everything with so much clarity now.

“For that I will never be able to apologize enough. Mere words cannot describe the very thought of you in pain at my hands and the remorse I feel. I was foolish and angry and unforgiving. There is very little left of the man I was not all that long ago. I am…different now, and that is not a terrible thing, I suppose,” he pauses, meeting my gaze that has not strayed from him. “You pulled me from my internal darkness and showed me there can be light in even the most unassuming things. For this, I am eternally in your debt.”

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