“I’m sure there are others,” Sif said, setting aside the shirt she’d been working on to stand and peruse Darcy’s DVD collection. She plucked one from the shelf and looked at the cover, then held it up with a wide grin for Fandral to see.
“He looks like you!” she said, smiling, as she showed him the DVD case for Robin Hood: Men In Tights.
Fandral immediately narrowed his eyes at the case. “Tis the man I am mistaken for constantly during my journeys throughout the city. I suppose now would be a good time to observe the similarities between. Or lack thereof, for that matter.”
Sif’s breath shuddered. She dropped her head onto Fandral’s shoulder and, for a moment, allowed herself to just feel sad. Not trusting herself to speak, she merely nodded in agreement with his statement, pulling away when he did. She appreciated the comfort more than she could say, but she felt relieved when he moved on to the subject of the movie.
“It has to have some merit, Fandral. And this is only the one. There are five others. Maybe one of them would be more to your liking?”
"Five?" he groaned and picked up one of his boots to begin the arduous process of dedazzling them. "Perhaps Darcy has another story we may watch? One that tells a tale that took place on Midgard instead of other realms or galaxies? I do not see how this is pertinent to Midgardian culture!”
“You are not overshadowing. I— I appreciate what you’re trying to do, but…” Sif trailed off and rubbed her forehead, trying to find the right words to say. “I cannot speak on it now. I can’t. And if I continue to never speak of it, or even think of it, it will eventually go away. I’ll be fine.”
She gave his wrist another squeeze and withdrew her hand. Despite her best efforts to remain cool and neutral, she couldn’t keep the sadness from her eyes. Fandral would understand, though. He knew what she was like. She’d spent so many years building up her walls that it was impossible for her to bring them all down in one night. That was a feat that even she could not accomplish.
It took all of Fandral’s courage to chance a glance over at Sif. The look on her face was one he’d only seen a few times before and he couldn’t help himself and he wrapped his arm around her shoulders and pulled her into a half hug. “We shall weather these things just as we have all trials and storms faced. Together. And soon, we will be joined by Hogun and Volstagg and our company will truly be complete!”
His smile was sincere and reassuring as he rubbed over her bicep gently before pulling away. “But honestly, I see nothing exciting about this movie at all. I am truly disappointed.”
Sif looked up in surprise at Fandral’s words. Sitting around and talking about feelings was something that never happened with them. Almost never, at least. Sif had gotten used to that, because all the people she spent time with on a regular basis were men and there were things men just didn’t discuss, emotions being one of them.
She was quiet, contemplative for a while. She wanted to remind him that Thor was also going to wed a mortal, and that she would be granted immortality. That was such a heavy thing, though- to lose one’s mortality would be a difficult prospect, she imagined. To stay young and vital while your friends and family grew old and died, to watch everyone you knew wither and perish… not everyone would be willing to give up their life for immortality.
Her next thought was to comfort him with the fact that Darcy was still young, and would have at least a hundred years of life yet, but a hundred years was nothing to a child of Asgard. It was the blink of an eye. That would be no comfort at all.
Instead she placed her hand on his wrist and squeezed gently. “Do not think about things that have not yet come to pass. Just enjoy the moment while it lasts. There will be time to mourn her once she is gone, but you do yourself a disservice if you mourn her now. Instead, live every minute to the fullest; in that way, you shall have no regrets in the future.”
"Once she is gone…" he echoed her and looked away immediately. "I understand that I should live life in the present. This is me we are talking about. I never dwell on the past and I’m quick to dismiss worrying over the future. But this is no passing circumstance nor issue that will just dissolve with time. This is the woman I’m in love with."
Fandral sighed, feeling the weight of her hand against his finally. “I did not wish to overshadow your problems with my own, my friend. I simply wanted to show you that I too have things that I battle with, things that I fear. I know we do not readily discuss emotions and feelings with one another but that does not mean that we can’t. If we can follow each other into the fiercest of battles, willingly accept death to protect our fellow warrior - surely we can speak of these things without any feeling of reservation.”
Turning from the television, Sif met Fandral’s eyes and pressed her lips together for a moment. She sighed from the nose and shook her head, patting his shoulder. “I don’t really wish to speak on it,” she said simply. “In fact, I’m certain it is better if I do not. It was a long time ago, for both of us. He has moved on and found someone that he loves very much. One day, I will do the same.”
Quickly, she returned her attention to the bedazzled shirt, fastidiously removing the studs from the fabric. This required more care than the cape had, since the fabric was thinner and would fray easily if she weren’t careful. She felt… awkward, having shared even that much with Fandral. Even though their little band were as close as any family, everyone had their own wounds to tend. Sif didn’t like talking about her feelings on a good day, and hated, more than anything, the feeling of vulnerability that such disclosure created. It was her warrior’s instinct, she supposed.
“Thank you for offering,” she added after a moment, smiling to show that she was all right.
Staying silent for many moments, even after Sif had thanked him, Fandral turned his attention back to the film and continued to pry the gems from the tang and handle of his sword. Having removed them all, he went about polishing it, removing all the scuffs and marks.
"You are welcome, my friend," he finally replied softly.
Sometimes he found it curious that even Volstagg could convey feelings better than Sif. Fandral supposed that it would be because for Sif, showing emotional vulnerability could cost her more than it would her fellow warriors. Being that she was a woman. Perhaps if he showed her that he, too, had his own worries and woes when it came to love.
"Sometimes I fear life without her," he confessed. "Never in my lifetime have I committed to a woman this way. And when I finally find the woman which I wish to devote myself to fully… she is a mortal." He sighed and let his sword rest in his lap. "The fear of losing her sometimes physically pains me."
Once the cloak was done, Sif moved on to one of his shirts. She’d let him handle his socks and boots on his own. “Excited about the party? Or about Thor’s wedding?” she asked. She supposed he meant both, and shrugged in response.
“I am happy that Thor is happy,” was what she said. It didn’t exactly answer the question, but it was the truth.
Fandral turned his attention to his friend that sat beside him and studied her face for a moment. “I… are you alright, Sif? I know that I do not always think before I speak but I have not forgotten that you and Thor shared feelings for each other before his banishment. This must not be easy for you. If-if you ever wished to perhaps speak about it, I would gladly listen.”
“Oh, she meant no harm. Worse pranks than this have been played on all of us.” Sif continued to pick the little gems from the cloak. It was beautifully made, but that was one of the benefits of being friends with the royal family- all the finest things in Asgard became available if only you asked for them.
Sif watched the movie and let her hands work. It was easy to multitask, and slowly, a pile of the studs and plastic jewels began to form on the table. “We have had some grand adventures, have we not? And we shall have many more.”
"But first, we must plan for this Bachelor Party. When I speak to Darcy… eventually… I will ask for her aid in securing a venue for the celebration. After that, the rest should be rather easy." The blade of the sword clear of jewels now, Fandral started to work on the handle with great care in every movement he made.
"Are you excited?" he asked offhandedly, having already forgotten the story playing out before them. For one reason or another, it had failed to grip him like he thought it would.
Laughing aloud, Sif raised her glass to Fandral and took a drink, then she moved to sit next to him on the couch. She watched with fascination as text began to scroll up the screen. “Interesting that this is apparently such an integral element of Midgardian culture, yet it isn’t even about Midgard.”
On the couch, she pulled Fandral’s cloak over her knees and began to carefully pry the gems out of the fabric, using her nails to loosen the flimsy prongs of the metal settings so the jewels could be lifted straight out. “This isn’t so bad,” she commented. “You shan’t even be able to tell they were there if you smooth out the weft.”
Fandral nodded at her remark about the cloak. “This is good news. ‘Tis my favorite.” Reaching out, he gently ran his hand over the fur lining. “The finest fur in all of Asgard.” His gaze eventually landed on the TV and he found himself lost in the story for a few moments. Mouth open, eyes wide. “I can see why so many are taken by this epic tale. It makes me miss our own adventures.”
With a sigh, he picked up his sword and carefully began to tug at the plastic rubies glued onto the steel. Each left a tiny mark or scuff in its place which made him frown. He’d be able to polish the imperfections out but it still annoyed him that they were there at all. “Why would she do this in the first place?” he asked, not really expecting an answer. “Sure, I have broken a few of her belongings in the past but it has never been on purpose. This just seems cruel. Truly. How many foes will I defeat with a sword that has pink jewels encrusted on the handle?”
“Much more knowledgeable,” Sif said, smirking. When the tray of the DVD player continued to pop out after several of Fandral’s attempts to push it back in, she waved him away.
“You’ll break it if you’re not careful.” Midgardian devices made for human use were never as sturdy as things made for Asgardians and she knew it’d be better for both of them if they didn’t incur Darcy’s wrath by destroying her appliances while she was out. “Obviously you’re doing something wrong.” She took the disk out and turned it to and fro in her hands then set it back in the tray, except she placed it with the shiny side down. Giving the disk a little push, she beamed when the DVD’s menu appeared on the screen.
Then, she tapped the television screen where it displayed a button that read ‘Play.’ When it did nothing, she narrowed her eyes and pressed the screen again. “If it’s not one thing it’s another,” she complained.
"I do believe I can help you there," Fandral said confidently. "This larger device is controlled by a smaller one." Walking over to the coffee table, he picked up one of the remotes. "Now, Darcy has warned me never to lay a hand on this but seeing as she is not around to do it herself and…" He tensed slightly, his jaw clenching, "… she clearly does not honor boundaries herself, I will be forced to work it on my own."
There was a symbol on the remote that matched the one he saw on the DVD menu. The play symbol. Pressing it, the movie began and he let out a loud cry of victory. The remote was tossed aside as he made to grab one of the bottles of liquor he’d brought along. “Together, my dear Sif, we think of everything!” Fandral declared as he raised the bottle before taking a generous drink.
Sif rolled her eyes at Fandral, but it stood to reason that he should be able to figure out the contraption with more ease than her. Whether he actually could remained to be seen. With a grin, she handed him the disks and turned to the television, pressing the button that said ‘power.’ That step was obvious enough.
“Now, wise Fandral, how do we proceed?” she asked, canting her head and examining the array of devices and gadgets around the TV. So many buttons and lights, so many little controls and knobs to turn. She grabbed a bottle of liquor and poured herself a glass; this was definitely one of those endeavors that required a little bit of alcohol.
"Well," he began as he too turned to face the entertainment system. "I know that these small disks must be fitted inside a black box." His eyes shot from each device around the TV fitting the description he just gave and made a little huff. "Surely the runes on this disk match those of the device it belongs to." Turning the DVD over in his hands, he began to search it for any type of clue.
Once he found what he was looking for, he let out a triumphant “Ahaa!” and bent down in front of the DVD player. “Now… there is a way to make it open up so the disk can be fitted inside.” Pressing a few buttons, he managed to turn it on and soon, the small door jutted out and he slid the DVD inside. It came hurling back out towards him a second later and an error showed on the display. “What devilry is this!?” He shoved it in again, this time with more force only to be met with the same result. “Damn… Midgardian… nonsense,” he muttered.
Fandral wandered into the living room, his bedazzled belongings in hand. Sif had called out that she found what they’d been searching for but the poor girl didn’t know how to make the movie machine go. Fandral, having lived in Midgard for several months now was confident that he could solve this technological riddle.
After first setting out various alcoholic beverages on the coffee table and laying his cape, sword, coat and other items on the couch, Fandral made his way over to Sif and held out his hand. “Allow me, milady. I do believe I am far more knowledgeable in such things than you are.”