Log: Jane, Hope, and Sif Who: Jane, Sif, and Hope What: A holiday (in both senses of the word) When: A weekend in mid-June, following (this discussion) Where: Oslo, Norway Warnings: None
It was Friday afternoon and Sif was pleased that she and Jane had made it to Oslo. They were on time both to attend temple and for Sif to meet Hope, and their disguises seemed to be working well. She'd managed to braid her hair tightly and coil it under the pink wig; that and the sunglasses and Midgardian lipstick she was wearing all served to disguise her identity. At the moment they were on their way to the synagogue; afterwards they'd eat and finish planning their Saturday. Sif was hoping they could go to the Museum of Cultural History, for fairly obvious reasons; it was already closed for the day but would be open after services in the morning. There was also an excellent art museum that had opened in the last couple of years--the years they'd all missed--that housed some famous art that Sif didn't entirely understand.
"So explain to me about the Munch painting, The Scream?" Sif asked the other two, shyly moving to slide her hand into Hope's.
It had been awhile since Hope had been to Norway. Pretty sure that at least one of her overseas boarding school adventures had included a trip to Amsterdam, which was super close by - thus, that meant smoking a lot of weed and taking train trips to neighboring areas while high as a kite, eating everything in sight. This was a little bit different though. She was here with her friend who was currently labeled a terrorist (teeny, tiny Jane - a terrorist, yeah, okay) and her...maybe-girlfriend.
Again, speaking of boarding school - that was when her last Experience with a woman had been, so she was rusty. But definitely wanted to get in more practice once the world wasn’t ending again.
Oslo was nice, she was looking forward to seeing everything - and was glad Sif’s armor had sold for enough cash to afford a chance for her and Jane to get here. Even if Hope had to don a red wig and some shades, to keep her recognizability to a minimum - better than the photostatic veil; she’d prefer to be wearing her own face when holding hands with Sif. “It means inner anxiety,” she said. “Or it’s like, a depiction of that artist’s own anxiety. I think he called it his soul painting,” she added, lacing her and Sif’s fingers together, squeezing gently.
Science was more her thing but she knew some stuff about art.
It wasn’t typical for Jane to attend both Shabbat services. When she did go for Shabbat, she only went once. With the stress of the last several weeks and how disconnected she was to anything that felt like home, the idea of staying the weekend and not having to travel by train on Shabbat felt comforting, even if she had to wear a wig to honor Valkyrie’s request to be disguised. It was a little uncomfortable under the long blonde wig. Jane hadn’t worn a wig since her chemo and those weren’t happy memories. It was still nice to be away from New Asgard and Thor’s moods. It was nice to Hope as well.
Hope who was holding hands with Sif. What? When had that happened?
Jane screwed her surprised face into one approximating the famous painting. “Also the face is pretty memorable.”
Sif grinned, not trying to hide her amusement at the expression Jane was making. "I see the face in internet memes a lot. There's also a little blond boy in a film who makes the same face." Sif put one hand to her cheek but didn't let go of Hope on the other side while making the same face, approximating the look of Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone. Both Hope and Jane were pretty sure Sif didn't know either the actor or the film, unless she'd researched Know Your Meme.
Oh, right, Hope hadn’t really told anyone about her evolving relationship with Sif - just Christine, and she’d sort of mentioned it to Tony, but that was all. She was probably owed a catch-up with Jane, given the look on the woman’s face. “Home Alone,” she chuckled. “That one’s from a long time ago.” From her childhood, even. “But good on you for knowing memes, Sif. You’re a few steps ahead of me.” Hope didn’t really know a ton of them, at least not from memory - she just wasn’t a gif hunter.
“So, after the synagogue, what’s next?” she asked. “There’s lots to do. I’m open to anything.”
“Food if you’re up for it?” Jane said. It wouldn’t be a traditional Shabbat dinner but a meal between friends was a good substitute. “I know Sif wants to go the museum but that might be something for tomorrow. After dinner I might go and rest if you and Sif want to do something?” She looked significantly at Hope. Sif sometimes made Jane feel like she had to be on her best behavior but Jane could tease Hope.
"I'm definitely going to be up for food. Is there kosher food in Oslo? I'm happy to eat whatever anyone else wants. All Mi--of the local food is a discovery for me." Sif managed not to say the wrong word with some effort. "And the museum is definitely for tomorrow. I think it closes early." She glanced at Hope to see what Hope thought of a little time to themselves.
Food wasn’t something Hope would turn down either - she could pack it away, contrary to what her slight frame would suggest. “That’s a third vote for food,” she agreed (and she was already kind of hungry, but could wait until after the synagogue - she’d quell her rumbling stomach until then). She presumed there were kosher selections - at the very least, down at the community store. Meat and cheese and dairy. “After that, if you want to rest, Jane, I’m sure we can find something to entertain us,” she glanced back at Sif, though she was clearly amenable to the ‘time to ourselves’ idea.
And her expression shifted to something dryly amused when she looked at Jane - teasing, yes, she’d have been surprised if her friend didn’t go down that road. “Want me to check my phone to see what’s to eat around here?”
"That would be great," Sif suggested. "And if there's something you don't understand in Norwegian, I've learned some, especially terms that have to do with food." She squeezed Hope's hand.
Although Jane wouldn’t describe herself as orthodox and anything in Norwegian instead of Hebrew went over her head, it was a comfort to be at temple again. Something in Jane relaxed when she could turn her mind away from her worries and follow the familiar rhythms of service without having to worry. When they reached the Mourner’s Kiddush, Jane waited past the announcement of names for those in shiva, who had died in the past week. Once they began announcing names gone a year, Jane quietly added something of her own.
“For Nebula’s planet, gone but not forgotten.” Jane kept her thoughts on that lost planet as she recited the Kiddush.
It was actually really nice, to see Jane so at peace and relaxed - religion had never been Hope’s thing (she was too cynical to want to send a prayer to any Sky Daddy, thinking anything was actually listening), but she personally believed that if it brought someone comfort during hard times, and they weren’t trying to push it on anyone else - then whatever made them happy?
She was glad to be there and experience this with her friend. Which was why she was quiet during the whole service, going along with everything as she stood (and sat) near Sif - who had probably never attended a service at temple either, so this was definitely something new.
Sif was glad to be with Hope for this service. She had no idea of what to do--her experience with Midgardian religion was quite different, and her view on gods not really in accordance with any of them that remained--and Hope was better at cueing her for what she was supposed to do as an outsider than Jane could be. At least she sort of understood some of the parts of the service in Norwegian and occasionally whispered a short explanation or translation into Hope's ear. She would have liked to hold Hope's hand, but worried that it was inappropriate, so she didn't, especially as she knew they were being watched, even if only with curiosity about newcomers. She was also keeping an eye out for any danger to Jane, though everything and everyone seemed focused on the service.
Unfortunately, their undercover status meant Jane couldn't do more than wish those around her "Shabbat Shalom" as they rose to leave. Still, these were people, more human beings than Jane had seen in weeks. She felt in common with them and Jane exchanged smiles with those around them as they passed. She led the way out, walking between Sif and Hope. "Thank you," she told them both, as they stepped back out on the street.
"You're welcome," Sif said. "I'm glad we could do this. It's hard to be alone, without your community." She, who was missing three of her dearest friends, understood Jane's problem. At least Hope was here for the weekend, which was more than Sif had imagined she'd get after Thor lost control in New York.
“Yeah, of course,” Hope chimed in - it was no hardship to accompany Jane for something that was important to her. She knew that her own friends would have done the same, if it had been her in Jane’s shoes and she felt like she wanted and needed the support. “Everything’s pretty topsy-turvy now, but we’re going to smooth it out again.”
Jane and the Asgardians wouldn’t remain on the Naughty List forever - they could turn this around, Hope firmly believed that. Even the cynical side of her was determined to not simply settle for all of this being the norm. Mostly because she thought wearing a wig as part of a disguise was ridiculous, but anyway.
“Well, shall we find ourselves some food, then? Sustenance awaits.”