"I do not require your assistance," Sif snarls at the nurse, who puts his hands on his hips. She's holding a hand to her face, which Helen thinks looks badly burned. HQ is filled with Asgardian warriors in triage, and Maria Hill is barking orders to teams of medical staff. Helen can hear Thor's voice booming down the hall.
The nurse looks intimidated, but he stands his ground. "That skin is going to get infected," he says. "You need assistance."
Helen thinks about what Jane told her, after she came back from visiting Asgard--about how many of the scientists and healers there were women. Nearly all of them, it seemed like.
"Darnell, I'll take care of this," she says, stepping quietly up between him and Sif. She glowers at Helen, but she doesn't say anything. "I'm Dr. Cho. You can call me Helen. How about I take a look at that?"
Sif lets Helen take her away into a side room, where she has a small version of her larger tissue-generating machine. Helen sits Sif down on a stool and asks her to keep her hands away from her face. To her surprise, Sif does as she asks, suddenly quite willing and trusting. Helen opens the machine, clicks through the job list to make sure nothing else is in the queue, and then she picks up the scanner and starts running it over Sif's burned face.
"You have not been among our companions long," Sif says stiffly, and Helen realizes she's making chit-chat.
"Uh, yeah," Helen says. "They brought me aboard the team after the whole Ultron thing. Seemed like a good idea." The scanner beeps, and she puts it aside. She starts a visual examination. The burns are bad, but the affected area is contained. "I'm sorry we had to meet like this. I've been curious about Asgard for a while."
"You wish to see Asgard?" Sif raises her eyebrows and begins to smile. Then she winces as the tissue pulls, and her expression flattens again. "Wise women are always welcome among our people. The lady Jane has visited us already."
"I'm gonna need you to hold still for this part," Helen says, fiddling with the machine. "And this might sting a little."
Sif snorts. "Warriors do not fear pain." But she flinches a little when Helen affixes the printer nodes to the edges of the burn, and Helen suppresses a smile.
"Just like Thor," she murmurs, shaking her head. "Okay, the printer's ready. I'm going to clear the tissue pathway now."
Microlasers switch on between the printer nodes, clearing away the burned skin. Sif makes a single, tight-lipped groaning noise and grips the stool very hard, but she's otherwise still.
"You're doing great," Helen says, and Sif glares at her. "Hey, this is my job, patching you up. You're part of the team. I'm part of the team. I'm just saying, we're, uh, working together well. So, good job. Okay?"
"Hmm," Sif says, unable to move her mouth, but her eyes lose a bit of their fire.
Helen smiles. "Starting tissue regrowth now." The printer moves slowly, and the new tissue begins to dance between the nodules. Soon, Sif's face looks entirely healed, as if it had never been burned at all.
The nodules blink green and then go cold. "Okay, I'm going to take this off you now, but don't move yet," Helen says. "I have to make sure the tissue is set before you can leave."
Sif gives a small nod. Her eyes follow Helen's hands as she plucks the nodules from Sif's face. She drops them in the chemical bath and resets the machine, and then turns her attention to Sif.
"Looks good..." she murmurs, running her fingers over the new tissue. "Mandibular attachment is holding; tension looks good. Labium superius--"
Sif grabs her hands. Helen suddenly realizes she's been running her fingertips over Sif's cheeks and mouth, which have become flushed bright pink.
"Sorry," Helen says, searching Sif's eyes. "I didn't mean to be, um, overly familiar." But she feels something magnetic that belies her words, making her lean forward just a hair. Just enough to suggest.
Sif kisses her, firm and a little demanding, the new skin of her upper lip fractionally softer than the rest of her mouth. Helen hears herself moan, and then Sif has wrapped her mighty arms around her and is dipping her backward, tongue parting her lips. Helen feels hot all over.
Then, abruptly, Sif is setting her upright. "Your work is excellent, Wise Woman Cho," she says. "I must now return to battle, but I look forward to working with you again in the future." She picks up her sword from the chair by the door and turns back to look at Helen, smirking.
"Yup," Helen says. "No problem." Sif grins at her and heads back out into the hall.
Helen sits down. She feels a little light-headed. "Go team."