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Dark, velvet skies and the ivory points of light within the skies blanketed the Earth and looked down upon where we were, in a broken home, a shattered house with a crumbled roof collapsed on a wooden floor. Flashing lights from explosions and zipping sparks of bullets glowed in the distance as I sat before the dust covered piano on the edge of the bed. It was a small town that housed the fighting, miles away from any city significant enough to be attacked by the bio weapons that came forth from the disagreement of how to handle the asteroid coming to Earth. So, there we were, fighting for everything we wanted to live well in our last hours. I put my fingers on the keys of the piano, the cracked and finger-loved keys. The chords echoed slightly in the rubble-strewn room. "Brady, why don't you play something happy?" Alex said from a chair that looked over the broken wall to the stars and the town. "It's the end of the world," I replied. "How about something epic?" My fingers worked mindlessly as I stared over the top of the piano to Alex's face. I was lost in the way her solemn and still face was framed by a decimated wall and a horizon of stars. She had her arms wrapped around herself, keeping her hands against her warm body and away from the slight breeze that blew the chill of the late October air across the land. Her hair whisped around her ears and fell back onto the hood of the hoodie she wore. When she looked over to me, she smiled so purely, as if there was nothing wrong with the world, and there never was, and never would be. I smiled in turn, playing softer and softer as the battle in the town dimmed, slowed, and silenced itself. One last explosion popped and rocked the surrounding land as I hit the last chord so that it was barely audible. Alex and I looked to the war-torn town as echoes from the blast faded. I let my hands slip from the keys onto my thighs as the night grew quiet. "Have you ever laid yourself out beneath the stars before?" Alex asked as she looked up. "I have, time and time again, and I never get enough. There's infinity out there, though, so I'll have my fill," I answered as we looked at each other. She yawned slightly and got up, walking to the edge of the room to look out upon the land as she stuffed her hands in the pouch of her hoodie. "Alex," I said after a moment, "if you're tired you should get some sleep." "Brady, I haven't slept for three days. I haven't thought of sleeping since the world doomed itself by launching diseases to the cities of the world because we couldn't agree on how to blast that rock out of the sky before it incinerates the face of our planet. Before that, I didn't think of sleeping until I got to your side." "Then at least come here and watch the stars with me." Alex came over and crawled onto the bed, sitting in the layers of blankets and pillows we stacked there that morning after the roof fell in from a nearby explosion. I leaned back and rested my head on her lap, staring up to her face, again with stars splashed in the background as a breeze brushed her hair back. She ran her hand around my face, looked up at the stars as well, and then leaned back, resting her head on the pillows while she kept a hand cradled around my chin. As we stared at the stars, I heard a gentle beat, and focusing on it, I turned my ear to Alex's warm stomach and followed the sound to her chest where her heart beat calmly, quietly, and smoothly. The rhythm of her heart lulled me nearly into a joyous sleep after I curled myself up and held my hands close to myself as a child would do. "Brady," Alex said pleadingly, "please, don't sleep." I opened my eyes and listened to her speak. "I don't want you to sleep away the end of your existence. I couldn't let you do that." I sat up and moved my head to the pillows and stretched out beside her. "The end of my existence isn't really something I'm interested in seeing unfold before me," I said, looking to the stars scattered above us. "How about the beginning of forever, the end of all things bad, all things that harmed you and I, that harmed anyone at all?" "That is something that I would give my life to see," I stated with a nod and a smile before Alex clasped my hand at her side. Turning my head, I looked to her. She was staring into the cloudless sky with tears running down the side of her face. "Hey," I whispered, "where's your smile?" She looked at me momentarily and then buried her head in my shoulder, crying softly and breathing deeply. I wrapped her in my arms and rolled onto my back, holding her tightly and consolingly as I looked above. "It's the end of the world," she spoke. "How can I smile?" "It's the beginning of forever." A silent hum arose and grew louder second by second. Alex looked up and out at the town, still dark and tranquil. I said nothing and looked above as Alex rolled over and sat up a little, looking around the room for the source of the growing noise. Slowly, the sky grew brighter, as if the sun were rising in seconds instead of hours. With my hands folded on my stomach, I watched the air above me as it began to glow. Searing air burned and cracked and exploded around the asteroid as it tore past miles above in fragments of what it used to be. The heat warmed Alex and me as it radiated from the magnificent, streaking fire across the sky, blocking out the black above, tearing the dark velvet of the sky, and overpowering the light of the ivory stars within. Static filled the air, the sky, my ears, and I could hear nothing as I was overwhelmed by the light, by the heat, by the sound: the general chaos of an ending world, of a new beginning. All became quite for a minute, long enough for my eyes to readjust, for my ears to stop ringing, for the sweat on my skin to cool me off. "Alex," I said not moving from where I lay, "you were right. The end of all things is amazing. Thanks for keeping me awake long enough to see it." She said nothing, and I sat up to see her sitting with her hands folded in her lap. Her gaze was out toward the horizon before she let her head fall and her hair hang in her face. As the asteroid hit the ground miles and miles away, sending out the foreshadowing tremors of a cataclysm, I reached out and grabbed her shoulder. As she looked up at me, I smiled wide and pure. "I love you," I said, laughing, "now and forever more. Who said the end was all that bad?" She smiled slightly at that and drew nearer, rester her forehead against mine so that we were eye to eye. "I love you, too," she said, bringing back her smile as she lightly kissed me while a rushing wave of dust and fire crashed over us, sending us as ashes to the stars. How about the beginning of forever? I'll love you forever more.