Who: Sif and Hope What: Girl bonding time When: April 30, before shenanigans with Loki and Peter Where: Hope's flat in NYC Warnings: Awkward revelations
Sif had never been to a Midgardian style sleepover before and had no idea what to expect. It was polite to bring a guest-gift, of course, so she had bought a bottle of wine, which she had read was the correct etiquette. Long ago, Frigga had impressed on her the importance of a prospective Queen's manners, and for all that Sif had no more interest in becoming a Queen, the rules remained with her. But other than the wine and her clothes, Sif had no idea what they would do.
At her home, when Hope had stayed after the strained welcoming party for Jane, Sif had showed Hope her collection of armor and weapons: ones she didn't remember collecting because of the time jump, but all the same were exactly the ones she would have chosen if she'd had time. The small homes that Midgardians kept weren't suited for halls of armor, but there would be something to do: perhaps the movies that various people had spoken so fondly of.
Sif knocked on the door of Hope's flat, carrying her backpack, with wine in hand, and waited for Hope to answer.
In the Avengers tower, Hope’s apartment was a studio - so, pretty small, but it was cozy and it was her place, one she’d tried to impart her own personality into when it came to furnishings. She had a desk nook with a tea station when she wanted to prepare a cuppa and work from home, she had various herbs growing in pots, some on the windowsill - things that were hardy, that she couldn’t kill easily. She had a vibrant color scheme too (antique white, blue, yellow, touches of green), because the apartment she’d shared with Scott once was very Victorian style and she was just - ready for a change, she thought.
She brightened considerably when she heard the knock, going to answer the door. The freezer was stocked with ice cream, she had stuff to make full-out sundaes, and also little finger foods that were unhealthy but perfect for a sleepover - chips, queso, candy. She’d also gone out to pick up a couple of pizzas, and they were being kept warm in the oven. “Hi, come on in!” she greeted. And hugged Sif hello, because Hope was just really glad to see her.
Sif hugged Hope back, careful as always not to break anything, which she knew was a risk with Midgardians. "Thank you, I'm glad to be here." She had nominal quarters in the Tower as well, but she tried to stay in New Asgard as much as possible. Her own quarters were functional and bare compared to Hope's.
Looking around she added, "You've really done a lot with the place," which she'd figured out was the right response for an apartment that had been decorated. And: "I brought wine." With a big grin as she offered it to Hope.
“Thanks,” Hope chuckled, kind of aw, shucks because she didn’t often have guests over who were able to see what she actually did do with the place. “Make yourself at home. Get comfy. Ooh, wine?”
The bottle was taken, label studied - Hope did like a good wine to go with her trashy dinner-from-a-box and snacks, it was a thing. “Let me just uncork this baby and we’ll get the party started. Want some pizza?” she asked, heading into the small kitchenette area. “I got a few different kinds, with meat and without.”
"Whatever you think is best. I have heard of the war between Chicago style pizza and New York style pizza, so I offer no opinions without having tried them both. Though for toppings, I am curious about the one called Hawaiian, with the pineapple?" Sif found a chair and settled on its edge, not too relaxed lest Hope call her to the tiny kitchen for assistance with food and drink.
“Oh, yeah, that war - “ It made Hope laugh, mainly because Sif sounded so serious about it. “New York pizza clearly is the winner though.” That grab-and-go portability of the slices, the way grease dripped from them - yeah, loads better than pizza you had to eat with a knife and fork.
She slid the boxes from the oven, sounding excited when she said, “Hawaiian style! That’s my favorite too but no one else seems to like pineapple on their pizza.” Plebs, the lot of them. “They think it’s weird, but I think it’s the perfect sweet-savory combo.”
The bottle of wine was uncorked, two glasses poured - she passed one over to Sif - and started with two slices on a plate for each of them. Hope didn’t want to look like she could murder a whole pizza by herself but, well. She could. “How are things with you? Catch me up.”
"Everything seems to be going well. I think I have the guard situation almost completely under control, my work with Loki on special projects seems to be moving toward success, and Val and I are planning a spar." The last item brought a big grin to Sif's face. "I only ever heard legends of the Valkyries as a child," she explained, "and I always wanted to grow up to be one of them. And now I have a friend amongst them, which I never thought could happen. So except for one small thing, all is close to perfect. How about you?"
Hope settled on the couch with her pizza, plate balanced in her hand, wine glass set on the coffee table. She curled up and chowed down, listening. “Pretty well on this end,” she shrugged. “Just been working a lot. It’s what I do. Work and train.” She had to keep up her exercise regimen, since she didn’t want to slack at the various styles of martial arts she knew - it was good to have others in the Tower to spar with, though she was pretty sure a Valkyrie would flatten her. Still, might be fun to try.
“What’s the small thing that’s not perfect?”
"I think I don't understand Midgardians sometimes," Sif confessed. "Or really, one particular Midgardian. I like Jane--Doctor Foster--but I'm always wrong-footed with her. And I don't know why, when I go out of my way to try to show her respect and be honest with her."
“Oh,” Hope frowned a bit, setting her wine glass down. She needed to go a little slower anyway, since she didn’t have an Asgardian metabolism and would be drunk in five seconds if she kept it up. And then who knew what she’d say or do - could be dangerous. “I guess because - maybe she thinks you’re interested in Thor?” she suggested. “I mean she probably knows you’re not, logically, but - that’s the thing about Midgardians, I guess. Our emotions are weird. We don’t always say or do the right thing. Or make sense.”
Maybe that was a universal thing - especially so with those from Earth, however. Asgardians were raised entirely differently, Sif included. Her upbringing wasn’t like anyone else Hope knew. “You’re not into Thor, right?” she asked, just to be sure. “Romantically, I mean.”
"I used to be," Sif admitted. "Queen Frigga wanted us to marry so I would be his Queen when he became King. But that was, as you count time, a long time ago. He is, what is the Midgardian phrase? 'not into me that way', and I have moved on as well. He is my friend, but no more.
"And even if I were still enamored of him," she added, "I wouldn't want to marry him now. Even if Jane had never attracted his attention, things are different. New Asgard looks for stability. If I were to marry him, they'd want me to stop what I'm doing and have babies, and I'm not ready for that. Court life is tolerable given that we're so few. But I've had to fight against the expectations of men all my life and becoming Thor's paramour would only bring more of those. Jane has her reservations about marrying Thor; I would have those as well. So it's not all about stepping on the hem of her gown, though I wouldn't do that either. But I offered to stay in New York so Thor could spend more time with her, and she didn't like that either. Maybe it's as you say: people's emotions are strange."
This all made sense to Hope. And she didn’t know why she was relieved that Sif held no romantic feelings for Thor - but she just was. Chalk it up to more of those confusing Midgardian things called feels. No, they didn’t make sense sometimes. Most of the time.
“I don’t think there’s any explaining it,” she offered with a sheepish smile, picking up her wine glass again. “I doubt even Jane could, if you asked her. Sometimes things just are the way they are.” She sipped the fermented grape juice, eyebrows poking up. “Is there anyone you’re interested in?”
That’s what you did at sleepovers. Gossip.
Sif, unaccountably, also flushed slightly. "I don't know that I have one yet," she admitted, "though it's not like I'm at court in Asgard and have to worry about rumors the way I did when I first came there. Thor has taken a Midgardian lover, so perhaps I should do the same."
“We Midgardians make pretty good lovers,” Hope teased. But, well, she wasn’t about to sell herself short. “You should just - do whatever makes you happy. This is a strange world and people are blipped in and out, so. Take advantage of the time while you have it. With whomever you deem worthy.”
Solid advice there, right? She tried. Hope had accepted that Scott wasn’t coming back - maybe they just weren’t meant to be together now, and he wouldn’t want her to be lonely. Suffering. She didn’t have a crystal ball to look into the future, so she couldn’t say whether or not he would return - but it didn’t seem fair to wait for something that may or may not happen.
Sif was blushing and Hope probably was too, damnit. It was hot in here. “You want any ice cream?” she asked, moving to get up to stick her head in the freezer.
"Yes, thank you, that would be very nice." Sif ducked her head a little and looked into her glass as Hope rose to fetch the ice cream.
She had a bunch of different kinds in the freezer, but figured you couldn’t go wrong with cookie dough - so that’s what Hope went with, scooping generous amounts into two bowls. While she tried to figure out what exactly she wanted to say.
“Um, so - speaking of Midgardian lovers....” Oh no, now it sounded like she was going to proposition Sif, which - kind of? But not really? This was hard. “If you’re not interested in Thor and want to go out sometime, I mean. I’m available? I’ve just - I guess what I mean to say is I like you as more than a friend. I didn’t expect to, but...” She trailed off, drawer rattling as she found spoons.
Now when she inevitably got rejected she could cry into her ice cream. This worked out well.
There was surprise in Sif's voice when she answered. "I had no idea you thought of me in that way, Hope. I'm flattered. How silly you must find me, blathering on about Thor and Jane, instead of seeing what is right in front of me." She found herself staring down into her wine glass.
“Oh, no, I mean - it’s nothing you did. I don’t think you’re silly at all,” Hope assured, hands shaking only a little when she brought over ice cream and set down the bowls. “Honestly, I didn’t quite realize myself until...we started talking about Jane and Thor anyway.”
She may have had an inkling, but tried to squelch it - mostly because a part of her thought she was being unfaithful to Scott or something, but he wasn’t even here. He hadn’t been for awhile. And while Hope had never tried to actually date a woman before, she supposed the heart wanted what it wanted. You couldn’t really help that sort of thing.
“No pressure,” she added sheepishly. “If you’d rather just stay friends.”
Again, the surprise. Sif looked up at Hope, a little wide-eyed. "It's not that--you're a lovely woman. I just--hadn't thought about anyone at all other than Thor in that way in a very long time, and I'd never considered a woman. It's not that it's not done, just--things are different at court. And I'm not Loki, who is a seidr-man and a shapeshifter. So this is all new to me, too.
"Let us say," Sif added after a bit more consideration, "that we are leaving the door open. Nothing tonight, because that's a lot of pressure for both of us, but after this we can--go out on a date? That's the right term?"
“Yeah, that’s the term,” Hope chuckled, feeling relieved. She curled up on the sofa, cradling her ice cream and feeling like a weight had been lifted off her shoulders. How weird, that things had turned out this way - she definitely hadn’t been expecting this, but she wasn’t complaining at all. “We’ll do it, then. Go on a date. Dinner and dancing, or something. Whatever you want.”
For now, she’d just enjoy Sif’s company and the sleepover - because who knew when shit would hit the fan again.