It probably shouldn’t have happened this way, if she’s honest. There is trouble between them and there is Thor and everything else that happens, but it’s not like they can help it.
Sif is in the habit of shooting loaded and heavy looks at Jane, whenever she sees the two of them together, and Jane is in the habit of keeping her eyes down and looking away, never returning the looks – whether from fear or prudence, she doesn’t know.
But this time, something has changed. Maybe it’s because she’s alone, or maybe it’s because Sif looks almost peaceful, in less armour than usual and almost entirely free from bloodstains. Maybe it’s simply because Jane Foster is a creature of curiosity and if something piques her interest she’s always going to try it, just to see what happens.
It happens like it would happen in the cheesy romance films she and Darcy watch after a long day: Jane is walking by herself, keeping out of the crows and stretching her legs (if asked), and Sif is simply patrolling, probably going to spar. Between them is an unusual mass of people, and Jane stops and watches them, then looks up to see Sif almost exactly opposite her. The other woman looks up at the same time, and she finds herself looking straight into Sif’s eyes, even across the distance between them, and it’s like something in her clicks into place.
She doesn’t know what it is, and she needs time to explore it, so she turns and rushes away, finding somewhere quiet and empty to turn the moment over in her head, trying to work out exactly what has changed. It’s strange, to examine Sif so closely – she knows her as a warrior, brave and beautiful at the same time, one of Thor’s closest companions and seemingly both distant from and warm to her at the same time. But now, she’s something else – something closer, and if Jane is honest she would say that she occupies a place in her heart, small perhaps but certainly there. She doesn’t believe in love at first sight, but she knows that if Sif were to come up and seduce her now, she wouldn’t say no. It’s an odd definition, for sure, but it’s something she can work with and explore inside.
Sif can be silent when she wants to, and it takes Jane a long while to notice her standing in front of her, watching her closely. She looks up in shock and begins to babble something, but Sif practically waves her words away and sits down beside her, looking at her earnestly.
‘So, from your departure I can surmise either than I terrify you, or that you feel it too?’
‘Honestly, a bit of both. It’s hard to define – I’m thinking but-‘
‘I find that the mysteries of the heart often are – it is an art far beyond my reckoning. Jane, I know that you love Thor and that what I intend to do next will not change that, nor do I intend to intrude upon your relationship.’
She takes one of Jane’s hands in hers, and kisses it very gently, before looking up at her. Jane finds herself suddenly unable to speak, throat closed up tight, and so she nods, hoping that her nod conveys something along the lines of ‘perfectly fine, please come closer’.
Sif moves forward, leans over Jane, supporting herself with one hand and taking hers with the other, and kisses her softly, first on the cheek and then, when Jane doesn’t do anything, on the lips.
It’s simple, far simpler than Jane would have imagined, to kiss her back, breathing in deep and leaving her scattered thoughts behind her as she indulges, just for a second. They break apart, and Jane finds herself blushing a little and slightly out of breath, whereas Sif just looks troubled. ‘I do not mean to-‘
‘I know. I don’t get it either. But…’
‘Kiss me again. I have to go soon, but I’ll see you again later. Give me time to think and understand it. I need time.’
‘I can give you that,’ Sif says and then kisses her again, and Jane wonders for a second how she never wanted this before, when kissing another woman is so much softer and safer than kissing a man. They break apart and she gathers herself together and leaves, mind already turning.
They meet that evening, and most evenings afterwards, just sitting together, talking and being near each other, while they try and understand the tangle of their hearts, the rightness between them and what it means. One evening, not long before she has to go back to earth, Sif takes her hand and leads her from their usual meeting spot to somewhere secluded and green, with a clear view of the sky and a soft breeze ruffling through the grass. It’s exactly what Jane dreamed of, and she starts talking immediately, telling Sif all about their star-gazing places on earth and how she first became interested in this, all those years ago. Sif just listens and smiles and Jane knows that, much like Thor, this will never be a thing they will have between them, but something the other puts up with. It’s odd to compare the two, and yet she can’t help it somehow.
Eventually, a silence falls. Sif lies down and stretches out on her back and Jane copies her, wriggling into the space between her arm and her torso when beckoned and thrilling in the safety that comes with being held by her, just gently. She watches her for a second, and then turns her head to look at the stars. She recognises some but not all, and in a gentler tone she asks Sif to point them out. Sif engages in this with aplomb, and after a while Jane knows that she has to kiss her, without knowing why – first on the hand that holds her and then, when Sif falls slowly silent, on her cheek and then her mouth, leaning over her and marvelling in how close they are.
It feels like something finally falls in place there, when Sif draws her closer and she closes her eyes and just lets herself go with it, lets herself follow the natural order of things and lets herself not think, just act. It feels right to do this – to let herself be happy without asking why, and though her scientist’s brain complains about not being able to question this too, she shuts it down and just responds as Sif asks her. She knows they’ll both feel guilty afterwards, knows they’ll both be awkward with each other and knows that she’ll have to deal with it eventually, but not this evening.
This evening, she lets herself be held in Sif’s safe arms and indulges in the a joy that feels natural, that feels put in place by something higher and one she finds she has always desired – the joy Sif offers her.