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if not for love

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It takes Peter Nureyev eight minutes to determine that he is in Hyperion City. It takes him another ten to accept it.

This could be anywhere in the galaxy, he reasons dizzily. The basement he fought his way out of, underneath a truly tacky restaurant that invoked a distant deja vu for no reason Peter could name, might have been on Titan, or Mercury, or Yama. It could be a thousand basements filled with a million gangsters inspired to violence by a dozen, a hundred, a billion of Peter’s bad decisions.

Any one of those decisions would be better than this: alone, stranded, half-dead and, worst of all, under the lightning-blue dome of one of the two places in the universe he promised he would never return to. Perhaps the worse, this one; at least with Brahma, Peter only ever promised himself. A boy he has not seen in a very, very long time.

He breathes deeply. The air smells like ozone, garbage, copper—the latter is probably the blood on his clothes. A change of shirt, yes, that’s in order.

An alley down the block is dark, empty, cool and quiet, the perfect place to lean his shaking body against brick and take inventory of his injuries.

Point one: a burning pain along his side.

Point two: dehydration. Unless, of course, that shakiness is sleep deprivation. This is the first time he has seen the sky in at least four days. His internal clock says a week, but it isn’t as accurate as it used to be.

Point three, or two-B: he has not slept more than fitfully in at least four days. Maybe a week.

Point four, or three, or three-B, or two-C depending on how you look at it: he has not eaten in half that time.

Point five—

Peter begins to slide down the wall.

Quick footsteps click past him, a few feet away where the sidewalk is. Peter braces his arms underneath himself—gravel and glass against the palms of his hands, skin tearing in minute points of pain, grounding him—and lurches to his feet. A flick of the wrist; a plasma knife in his hand; a shoulder and a muffled cry and a soft throat, quivering under its point.

“It’s very nice to meet you,” Peter whispers into the ear of a man he has pinned to the wall. “I suggest that shouting would be very bad for the both of us. What you might want to do, if you would be so kind, is to give me your coat and go merrily on your way.”

“I—” the man whimpers. “I don’t have any money on me—”

“Did I say I wanted your money?” He takes a moment to remember if he did actually say that. Words are hard to hold onto, brain too slippery with pain and exhaustion. “Just the coat, there we go.”

The coat is shucked. Peter slips his arms into the sleeves and watches the man retreat like a rabbit. His coat is too broad in the shoulders and too short in the arms, but Peter makes do. It covers the blood well enough, at least.

The mouth of the alley frames a scene across the street: a man, shaved head and enormous biceps, a symbol tattooed on his shoulder that Peter remembers asking about cheekily until his lip split open and his mouth filled with too much blood. Peter steps back into the shadows; his heart pounds threadily in his throat.

Some of them are alive, then. Of course they are; did Peter think he had killed an entire gang in one mad-dash escape?

He turns his eyes weakly upon the nearby fire escape. It climbs the side of the building like ivy: erratic, organic, almost unintentional. The architecture in this area of the city has the ambiance of rock formations. Natural forces have had more of a hand in their forms than city planning. Time, migration, necessity.

Peter wraps his hand around the bottom rung.



Even in the dark, the skyline of Hyperion City sears Peter Nureyev’s eyes. That classic neon glow, so unique to Mars, outlines even silhouettes with a strange celestial light.

St. Elmo’s fire, Peter thinks. Something ancient. He cannot remember why.

As much as the city never dims its light, the path before Peter is shrouded in darkness. One rooftop to the next, his hands and feet have found holds and straightforward places to walk. This place, so close to the one place on this planet Peter has the knowledge and the means—and the memory, in this moment, ancestral memory from his own former self—to get to, is a long way down.

Peter drops several feet from his perch on an empty windowsill. As he lands, his body and the surface that catches him make a deep metallic clang that echoes in his head. He dares to flick on his flashlight to see the way forward, and the sight of it nearly topples him.

A dark chasm, between two buildings and, no doubt, several stories above the cold ground, yawns in front of Peter. Spanning the space is a thin metal bridge. It looks a straight shot across, a railing on either side. Peter turns the light off and lets the darkness hide him.

The metal under his feet jostles with every step. The sound is lost in the noise of the city, but the kickback rattles through Peter’s teeth. He trails a hand on the railing; he ought to leave no prints and his gloves are long lost, but his balance is nearly gone. A trembling has moved from his calves to his thighs; he cannot stop clenching his teeth; he thinks he hears water.

What will he do, when he gets where he’s going?

Peter Nureyev plans ahead. Peter Nureyev has backups for backups, a thousand escape routes from every room he finds himself in. He always has a trick up his sleeve—a knife, that’s the trick—and he kisses and he leaves.

Lies, every one of them. ‘Always’ is a myth. ‘Forever’ is a fantasy. A promise kept is the only way to mimic the ideal.

Peter has not believed in ideals since he made his second-to-last promise.

The paradox does not answer the question.

What will you do? rings in Peter’s singing head. It bounces off sharp edges and flat walls, between I want to leave. With you, and This isn’t a goddamn honeymoon suite, and If you’re a fool—

The thundering metal under his feet disappears. Peter steps into empty air. His stomach drops, and so does the rest of him, into the hard smack and chilling rush of still water.

It floods his mouth: a cool, clean taste in place of the sticky copper between his teeth. Peter sinks, and sinks, and wonders how long it would take his body to float back up. The exact number is somewhere in his mind, an esoteric piece of knowledge among the clutter of ephemera he collects, magpie-like, to build in the skeleton shape of a man. He finds he cannot find it.

What he does remember is how water leeches heat. How his extremities are the first to lose circulation, but the most important in making it back to the surface.

Kick off the shoes. Wriggle out of the coat. Up, up, do not give in to the temptation to breathe. Cold panic meets the hot fusion reactor of his instinct to survive. It mixes like a storm system; bubbles tickle over his face as the last bits of air leak out his mouth.

Peter surfaces, gasping.

The dome wavers above like light reflecting off water; light reflecting off water wavers like the dome, against the walls of the vat he’s fallen into. A reservoir. Open to the sky to catch the few drops of condensation that mingle inside the dome from the combined breaths of a city-state and create the illusion of weather. They have to filter out the acid. He memorized a map of Hyperion City last year: an age ago, back when Mars was new. Glaciers have passed inside Peter Nureyev since then, but details float to the surface like Peter himself, treading water.

He has little time and less energy to gift to Hyperion’s general utilities. He has trouble focusing his eyes—point five was meant to be possible concussion, that’s right—but he picks out the shape of a safety ladder quickly enough.

The burning in his arms is the only evidence Peter has that he is still alive. The rest of his body is cold, feeble, dead weight. He hoists himself over the edge of the wall at the top of the ladder, rolls onto his back, and puts a hand over his own chest to feel it rise and fall as the dome waves down at him like the underside of an impossible ocean.

A few more rooftops, and he can rest. That’s all.

He does not think What will I do? again. He can focus on his worries—how much he will regret doing what he plans to do, how this will only prove him the traitor he spent a shining moment pretending not to be—or he can focus on survival. Mars has enough martyrs.

It is late autumn, which on many parts of Earth would mean a dry, cold chill. This year’s November falls in the middle of Martian summer, humid and boiling. Peter’s shoes are somewhere at the bottom of the reservoir; he gets his socks custom-made by a tailor on Luna, special rubber tips in the toe and heel, but he treads carefully nonetheless. The squelching water that leaves footprints behind him, ones he can only hope will vanish with the morning sun, does nothing for his traction. Broken glass on a rooftop tinkles gently when he sweeps one foot out to check before taking a step.

One final step between the railings of two fire escapes built much closer together than any fire code ought to allow, and the arrow pointing ‘You Are Here’ on the map in his head tells him he has arrived at last.



This building is uglier than Peter remembers. The stairs echo like gunshots. The walls are a deep, water-stained green. The floor is crooked, as if the whole structure might be sinking slowly into the sand. Unless all that is Peter and the dizzy eyes he looks through now.

Synth-wood bucks under his feet; Peter goes tilting into the wall. He counts the numbers—Watch the numbers as they fall, a puzzle he needed a sharper set of eyes than his own to solve—on the doors and finds the one he needs.

He reaches out. His hand looks alien to his own eyes: too pale, too-prominent veins, wet and clammy like a forgotten dead thing. Weakly, almost hoping there will be no answer, he knocks.



He does not get what he hoped for. Or, rather, he does. It is difficult to know, when a man is in the habit of lying so effortlessly to himself.



Juno Steel opens the door.



Peter wishes he could say that Juno is more beautiful than he remembers.

It might be true—dark under-eye bags; frown lines; hair a wild tangle; that scowl like the world has asked him a favor he does not want to give but will anyway; and a single eye, only the one, unpaired by a soft cloth tied over the other side of his face, Peter had nearly forgotten how sharp guilt feels in his gut—but this moment is not for remembering. He takes in the sight and forgets how to breathe, how to speak. Peter Nureyev trembles.

“Hello,” he says.

“H… Hi?”

Darkness blooms in his vision, white spots popping like fireworks.

“I’ve had a very long night,” Peter says when he can see again. Juno has not moved a muscle. “I suppose you can tell.” He gestures faintly to the puddle growing in the hallway outside Juno’s apartment. The edge of the water threatens to creep into his living room carpet.

Juno blinks his eye. His mouth is open, and Peter wants to kiss him more than he wants to collapse on the ground and stay there until the world stops spinning. The sight of him aches in every corner of Peter that is not already aching.

“I know I made you a promise. I’m sorry, Juno,” Peter says. Juno has not spoken, and if he’s about to be cursed out and thrown in the street and left for dead or worse, this is his only chance to say it. “I am… I am so, so very sorry. I told you I’d stay away, and please believe me when I say I’ve never meant to go back on my word. To you. I go back on my word all the time, but not you—” His throat hurts. Peter might be about to spit up what bile is left in his stomach, or he might be about to cry. That is the honest truth. “I’m not asking for your forgiveness, nor am I asking for… for your love.”

Juno makes a quiet sound. Peter squeezes his eyes shut.

“I am only asking,” he continues, “for your pity, I suppose. For you to save me one more time. I’ll be out of your hair in the morning, I—”

A hand lands on Peter’s shivering shoulder. Fingers dig into the flesh over his shoulder blade; Peter is certain this is the moment. He braces for a blow.

He’s pulled forward instead, not shoved away. He opens his eyes, astonished, as Juno wraps his other arm around Peter and holds him tight. Juno backs up a step, dragging Peter with him, into the apartment with its messy stacks of paper and used bottles and the tacky, atrocious art still on the walls.

The door slides shut behind Peter.

“Holy hell, Nureyev,” Juno says, muffled into his wet, bloody shirt. “Oh my god.”



“When’s the last time you ate?” Juno asks, loudly, from his kitchen. Peter winces at the volume. “I don’t know what I have left in the fridge,” he continues much more quietly.

“That’s not necessary,” Peter replies, surfacing from his second full glass of water. Any more and he won’t be able to keep it down, but already his head feels more solidly attached to his body.

It’s surreal, even more so than everything has been since they put the bag over his head two spaceflights ago, being where he is. Sitting on Juno’s sofa, everything the same and not quite the same as the last time he was here, a thousand years back.

“Goddammit, okay.” Juno comes closer. Peter has trouble tracking him with his eyes; one moment Juno is across the room, the next he’s leaning over Peter. He doesn’t mind. “First we gotta get you out of your clothes.”

Peter wants to laugh at that. The man he used to be would have winked. He would have tried to fluster the lady in front of him. The man he is now feels too tender to even think of it.

Juno half carries him to the bathroom. Peter remembers the moments of back-and-forth they had in the tomb, when Juno would have his mind turned inside out for hours, so worn out he could barely sip the water they were given; when Peter would still feel the phantom arcs of electricity across his skin long after he’d been unstrapped from that table, unable to walk in a straight line. They leaned on each other, then, new territory cautiously explored in the worst of circumstances.

Peter wonders if he and Juno are destined to only share these moments in the shadow of suffering. He wonders if that kind of love can ever be worth it.

The bathroom fills slowly with steam as Juno runs a hot shower and sets about unbuttoning Peter from his wet, days-old clothes. The shirt and pants cling stickily to his skin; there is drying blood across his chest. Juno gasps when he sees it.

“It isn’t mine,” Peter murmurs. Most people wouldn’t find that comforting. Juno Steel is not most people.

“What happened here?” Juno asks when the rest of Peter’s shirt falls away. There is a note of alarm in his voice. Peter can feel him trying to hide it. He does a bad job, because the sight is certainly alarming: a long, raised welt along Peter’s side, purpling into a spectacular bruise.

“An old friend,” he answers. “I’ll pay him back with interest, soon as I’m able.”

Juno takes a deep breath—Peter feels the heat of his body and the expansion of his ribcage, he feels the wisp of Juno’s breath on his skin—and carefully does not touch that patch of Peter’s body again, in the process of freeing him from his second skin.

He’s naked, then, and led gently to the bathtub. Juno strips his own shirt off and sets about cleaning the blood off Peter, the sweat from fighting and the dust from cargo containers and basements and car trunks. Peter feels his nudity acutely; it isn’t an erotic nakedness, but it is a vulnerable one. An hour ago, he was certain Juno was as likely to sock him in the jaw as deign to let him rest a few hours on his couch. This is more than he could have dreamed; it’s almost more than he can bear.



“You never asked how I got here,” Peter mumbles. Juno has had to help him step into pajama pants. They’re too loose and too short, but soft and do not smell like blood or rot.

“Good news, you’re not concussed,” Juno says. “My guess is you’ll be out cold for a while, though, so take the bed.”


Juno sighs. An irritated groan roughs up the underside.

“I’m not gonna interrogate you while it looks like a stiff wind could fold you in half,” he says. “Go to sleep, Nureyev.”

“Juno,” he says again. “Would you…” He fears the answer. He fears, so much, overstepping a boundary he would have thought long crossed by now.

“What?” Juno leans down, one knee on the edge of the mattress. “What do you need?”

“Would you stay?” Peter asks quietly. “I won’t ask again, if you won’t. I’ll say no more about it.” Sleep pulls heavy at his eyes, but he keeps them open long enough to see Juno nod.

“Yeah,” he says. “Gimme a minute. I’ll be right back.”

Peter must doze off, because it feels like only the span of a heartbeat before Juno is sliding into bed next to him. There is nearly a foot of space between their bodies; Juno telegraphs how intentional that is clearly enough. The distance is chilly, but Peter feels grounded by it. Anything more at all, and he would be convinced this Juno is not the Juno who left, but a dream gifted him by the final firings of his synapses. The cold is real; he is alive, and here, and cannot have everything he wants.

“Good night,” Peter thinks he hears. Sleep takes him too quickly to answer.



Orange-yellow light floats in through slatted blinds. Peter blinks, head swimming. A torturous combination of hunger and nausea clenches his stomach, and he feels overheated and woozy.

He remembers where he is. Everything else becomes secondary.

This is not the first time Peter has woken up to an empty bed. This inverted reflection of that morning a year ago stings him, but he glances at Juno’s bedside clock and decides this is not the same class of abandonment. Peter is unsure what time he finally arrived last night, but it’s been at least twelve hours, and probably closer to fifteen. Besides, this is Juno’s home. Unless Juno packed his bags and moved away while Peter slept, he won’t have long to wait for him.

Peter’s legs are still wobbly as a newborn giraffe. He stumbles out from the bedroom and finds Juno’s kitchen silent and still. On the counter is a note.

The folded-over side has three splotches of scribbled ink. Peter squints and realizes they were attempts at addressing the note to him, ones Juno decided were not up to scratch. One seems to have said “Nure,” unfinished. One said “Peter,” and the other, “Rex.” The third gives him a small chuckle. An unforgettable day for the both of them, then. Peter is glad that first impression has lingered, despite everything. Given the opportunity to do it all over again—well, he might have been a bit lighter on the innuendo, now that he thinks about it. But not by much.

Juno finally settled on “PLEASE READ,” in his scrawling handwriting. The purple pen is a nice touch. Peter didn’t clock him for the colored-pen type, but then he remembers Juno’s secretary.

The note reads:

I had to get going. Sorry— and here are a cluster of small dots and lines, as if Juno needed several tries at starting the next word— you’re waking up alone. There’s food in the fridge. Start with something light. I have yogurt and bread and a shit ton of crackers and some fruit.

Another sentence, just before a humorously formal signature of Juno Steel at the end of the note, has been thoroughly scribbled out. Peter reaches for a handful of the crackers—they’re sitting out on the counter about six inches from the note itself—and munches on them while he roots around Juno’s drawers for the notepad he used to write this.

He finds it, then a pencil, and gently shades the paper to reveal Juno’s first draft. Luckily, it seems Juno made his edits after tearing the page off. The missing sentence is hard to miss:

I don’t know what you like so let me know when I get home and I’ll go out again tonight.

There is a lot to unpack there, in a sentence so casual. Even more so in its intentional removal. When I get home, is one: the promise that Juno will come back to him. I’ll go out: an offer of further generosity. Again, repeats in his mind: Peter stares at the crackers in his hand. Did Juno go to the store this morning, presumably before work, just to buy Peter something to eat that would be gentle on his empty stomach?

And the fact that Juno crossed it out. An offer rescinded, then? Peter chews, and swallows, and finds that he has no more room in his mind to think deeply about anything other than stoppering his mouth with anything edible he can keep down.



Keys in the door startle Peter awake. He finds himself on Juno’s couch, feeling more human than he has in days. The lights in the living room are off, and a glance out the window tells him the sun has set since he laid down for a nap, after catching up with half a week’s worth of missed meals.

Juno opens the door with a quiet question of a name: “Nureyev?” It’s some combination of curiosity and instinct that keeps Peter still and silent. The sofa faces away from the door; Juno will only see him if he lets himself be seen.

“Nureyev?” Juno calls again, a bit louder. He sighs, and his footsteps move toward the bedroom door. “Right,” Peter hears as Juno sees the room is empty. “I deserve that.”

He sounds more miserable than Peter can stand. The sharp claws of guilt hook into him again.

“Juno?” he says, only half feigning a yawn. He sits up and catches sight of Juno’s face. The expression there nearly stops Peter’s breath: he looks, for lack of a better word, awestruck to see him there.

“You stayed,” he says. He sounds as breathless as Peter feels.

“You came back,” Peter replies. Juno’s eyes drop to the floor.

“How, uh,” he rubs the back of his neck. “How are you feeling?”

“Better by lightyears.” He stretches and tries to stand, only stumbling half a step.

“Careful,” Juno rushes forward to help him, although Peter has righted himself already. Juno’s hand briefly cups Peter’s elbow; the contact warms his whole arm, through his chest, rippling outward to every cell in his body.

He will not presume. But he is giddy on the joy of Juno touching him again.

“I’m alright.” He does not pull back. He leans forward, in fact, when Juno begins to pull away; it isn’t intentional, but now that he’s slept and eaten and found some of his strength, there is one more yearning inside Peter Nureyev that he cannot ignore. “Juno,” he murmurs.


Juno’s eyelashes cast tiny shadows on his cheek. He has such gorgeous bone structure, not worsened but highlighted by the scars on his face. Even the asymmetry of it, the one set of lashes and the sleek black eyepatch over the other, renders him storied and wholly unique. Like Peter’s favorite places in the galaxy. Each more beautiful than the last.

“Thank you for everything. Quite literally, for my life,” he laughs quietly.

“There it is again.” Juno almost sounds angry, if Peter had never heard real anger from him. This is something else. “I should be thanking you, or, or, apologizing, begging for your goddamn forgiveness, I don’t deserve your thanks when I can’t even say—”

Peter leans closer, and Juno’s words catch on his breath.

“I think,” Peter says, “we have quite a lot to talk about.”

“Seems like,” Juno agrees.

“And I think,” Peter whispers, so close to Juno’s face that he can feel the tips of his stubble against his lips, “talking can wait for a bit.”

“You think so?” Juno trembles. He touches Peter’s hip.

Peter Nureyev takes a daring leap.



Kissing Juno is somehow even more than he remembers. It pulls the floor out from under him, every time.

He makes sure to test that theory thoroughly.



Falling into bed with him is a melancholy return. Things come full circle. Peter believes—must believe, for his own sake—that the turning of the galaxy brings more than repetition.

Juno’s bare thigh brushes over the ugly bruise on Peter’s side, once. At his wince and small hiss of pain, Juno shifts and asks, again and again, if he’s alright. Peter whispers in the affirmative. That answer grows and blossoms into something new very quickly.

Peter is wonderful. He’s better than he has been in quite some time. Yes, I’m fine, yes, oh, yes.

Even when he has to stop for a minute, overcome with some latent dizziness, some fatigue hiding for just the worst moment to come out, Juno puts a gentle hand on his back and waits it out with patience. A waste of a condom, and some time spent getting them both hard again once the feeling passes, but nothing is ruined.

Nothing, this time, is lost.



There are so many things he wants to ask Juno. A year’s worth of them, and more. Big questions and little ones, questions that could hold a universe in their answers.

What he asks first, instead, is this:

“Why did you cross out part of your note this morning?”

Peter feels Juno shift. He can hear the slow movement of Juno’s breath under his ear; their position is intentionally a different one than the last time they shared a bed in a quiet after. He may not be a man who puts much stock in superstition, but symbols have their power.

“You saw that, huh?”

“I shaded in the next page of your notepad.” It’s an old trick, one a thief and a detective would each be well aware of. One that each might expect of the other.

“Thought you might,” Juno says—Peter is enough of a fool to call his tone ‘fond.’

“It was an innocuous thing to say. Why try to hide it?”

“I…” Juno’s hand lands in Peter’s hair. He wants to fall asleep every night with those fingers on his scalp. The thought aches. “Didn’t want to make you think you had to stick around.”

“Then you’re a better person than I am.” Peter hums quietly. “But I did already know that.”

“You didn’t chase me away, Nureyev.” Juno’s voice is suddenly thick. Peter feels his intake of breath, several seconds before he speaks. “I didn’t leave because of you. I left because of me. Because I couldn’t have lived up to what you needed me to be, and—” Juno breaks off.

“Juno.” Peter turns his head and presses his mouth against Juno’s chest.

“And it was a stupid thing to think,” Juno continues, startling Peter and maybe himself. He pauses, laughs once, and says, “I’ve had a hell of a last few months.”

“Tell me,” Peter says, and Juno does.



Peter has a flight to catch and an alias to bury.

“If they aren’t already, they’ll soon be certain Alexander Hope is dead,” Peter explains over a glass of wine. He refused to let Juno buy the bottle. It feels good, after the last few days, to do something for himself. “He was more trouble than he was worth, honestly. Very easy to make an enemy of, that man.”

“Stop posing as a real estate agent, then,” Juno rolls his eye. Peter smiles.

“And how do you intend to stop me?”

“Guess I’ll have to keep my eye on you.” Juno closes his eye, then adds, “That, uh, that was supposed to be a wink.”

“I love you,” Peter says.

He hasn’t dared, even in the aftermath of the long conversations that ate up the night and a good deal of the following day. The sharing of missed years—Peter has to admit, Juno’s was more exciting—and the kind of frank honesty that had required imminent death and literal mind-reading the last time, was a first step. A door, opened.

This is not only addressing the elephant in the room; Peter has dressed the elephant up in a fancy new hat and given it a name.

“Listen,” Juno begins.

“I understand,” Peter speaks up.

“—I’m not there yet, saying things—”

“—I didn’t mean, forget I said—”

“—but that hasn’t changed.” Juno’s eye is wide in his face. “What I told you, before. Long time ago. That makes two of us.”

“Well.” Peter finishes his wine. “It’s good to know I’m not the only fool here.”

“You’re not. You’re really not.” Juno shakes his head. A soft smile lights up the corner of his mouth. “Hey, I need to show you something.”

He reaches into his pocket and pulls out his comms.

“You have my undivided attention.” Curiosity piqued, Peter leans closer.

“Do you know what day it was, when you showed up on my doorstep?” Juno taps the screen, right in the corner where the little numbers glow white.

Peter does a quick arithmetic. He laughs.


“A hell of an anniversary gift,” Juno finishes.



Juno’s nails dig into the armrests. He looks as if he’s about to be sick.

“Are you absolutely certain about this, Juno?” Peter asks. “It’s not too late. I am very good at last-minute travel delays. I have five smoke bombs on my person, just say the word.”

“No, I’m fine, I—” Juno pauses. “How’d you get those through security? Never mind, don’t tell me.” He takes a deep breath. “Use it as you see fit,” Juno murmurs under his breath.

He says that to himself, sometimes, now. He hasn’t told Peter why, but Peter has his guesses. There are gaps in the story of Juno’s last year, ones that Peter fills with growing pains in his mind’s eye.

“You’ll be back in Hyperion City before you know it,” Peter promises.

“I better not be,” Juno warns. “You have a hell of a lot of beautiful places to impress me with first.”

It is something new, what the two of them are building carefully between them. Juno is new, and Peter, different people than they were before. Things have passed, and changed, and opportunities have been missed; but new ones, new sights and lives and adventures ahead, are ripe and ready for no other people but the ones they are now.

“I’m glad you didn’t change your mind,” Peter says as the ship becomes airborne. “It’s harder than you’d think, robbing a morgue. A two-man job.”

“Robbing a—?” At that very moment, Juno becomes quite violently airsick into the complimentary bag in his seat pocket. There is nowhere in the galaxy Peter would rather be.