Not knowing how to help put me in a dark mood that lasted through Niagara Falls, as spectacular as they were, and now we were heading back to home.
I’d still put in my notice at the apartment. With the money I was getting I could afford somewhere bigger.
Somewhere better for a couple. Part of me had almost spontaneously proposed at the Falls, but my mood was too dark.
Maybe it was better that way. I hadn’t really been logistically ready. I didn’t have a ring.
I still had doubts about making it formal. Fears, maybe, that that would somehow put her in even more danger.
Fears that it would be the signal for Surtur to take her out. Fears that I could not protect her, in the end.
And she could certainly not come to Muspelheim with me. But that did not matter. Thruor could look after her, and if I did not come back, make her disappear.
Make her look like somebody else and vanish where nobody could find her.
I was not convinced that…I was not convinced that a part of me did not belong there, in the realm of fire, in the realm so completely unlike the Hell I had had to enter to help Loki.
Both realms of fire.
But Muspelheim could be lovely if you let yourself see it, if you let it be part of you.
Part of me.
That was what I was really afraid of. And with the nose of the car pointed south…
…I was not entirely surprised when we were suddenly flanked by Valkyries. I rolled down the window. “Let me guess, you’re not here to show me a biker bar with really awesome burgers.”
“We need to get you back to DC and fast.” Thruor’s voice. The other was not Kara. I couldn’t remember her name.
“What did Surtur set on fire now?” I could not help but ask.
“Several things. It’s bad.”
I nodded. “Let’s go then.”
“Hold on. We’re going to take a shortcut.”
So, vacation, such as it had been, was over. Kanesha was pale under the dark of her skin. Pale and afraid, but strong.
I could feel her strength. It supported me, lifted me up. I could feel her faith in me.
I was starting to know what I had to do, but if Surtur was going to push the issue.
The road suddenly fragmented into glowing rainbow shards. I kept my foot on the pedal.
I had a feeling going as fast as possible was what was needed.