She stepped into the water. He rose to her, lifting from the deep, his long black hair clinging to his bare neck and shoulders. In the shallow water where she stood he turned on his back, unable to balance himself with the weight and length of his tail. His playfulness made Pat laugh. She knelt down and felt the warm water gather up to her chest. She reached out as Inith turned to go, and caught his hand.
The merman’s free arm braced in the sand. The fin at the back of his tail only just cleared the water. His eyes went to hers.
“Well, chi-uiris,” he said. “What are you going to do with me, now that you’ve caught me?”
Thor flinched. He knew that voice too well. He turned restlessly, trying to force it out of his head. But it was there, always there, in his heart.
Thor’s elbow hit the TV tray. He cursed, throwing a plastic plate across the room.
“Get out!” he shouted. “Go away. Just leave me.”
He didn’t mean it. Not really. But he was tired and the pain was no easier. Loki, that cursed son of an ice giant. He saw him hanging from Thanos’s hand, fighting for air, for life. He heard his brother’s hoarse voice:
“You—will never be—a god.”
His death was too sudden. Thanos had thrown his body at Thor’s feet, so still and broken in a way that Loki was never broken, never finished. It was pretend. It had to be. Thor had bowed beside his brother, praying for some trick, some miracle.
No, not flowers. He liked flowers, but it didn’t seem right.
She sat, looking down at the quiet ground that was so unlike him. Davy had never been quiet. He had never stood still. Even in sleep, he was always tossing and stealing the blankets for himself. Peg’s mouth crooked in a smile. Darn it, she missed him.
It wasn’t the grandest ship in the world. There was something almost artificial about its construction, like a Lego toy. But it was Jasper Day’s darling, and the staff and crew knew better than to say a single word of criticism. Near Christmastime, it was hard to keep quiet.
Sir Pedder raised his head. “Tell you?” he questioned, slowly.
“Tell me that you knew my father.”
The knight held the young woman’s gaze steadily. “I did not know him well,” he said. “But I remember him. He was a brave man. It was a loss to all of us, when he died. My duties kept me mostly at the castle, but when I was able I journeyed with him and his men, and was glad to fight beside him.”